Words Can Hurt

Words Can Hurt

Have you seen this Geico advertisement about words can hurt? Geico is associated with interesting and innovative advertisement, but this one really hit home with me this week. I suppose it hit home for a variety of reasons. Diabetes is one of them but it is really more than that.

So in the advertisement the cowboy announces to a woman that he is a loaner and rides off into the sunset only to be hit by large words that say ‘The End'. Now a disclaimer here, I do not have Geico insurance do not know a thing about it and do not suggest anyone purchase insurance based on cool commercials. What I can say is that insurance advertisements have become some of the more innovative on television and I love good 15, 20 or 20 second stories that play out in commercials. All good commercials are mini stories with character, setting, plot, conflict and theme. I wish I could create stuff like that, but anyone who reads this blog knows for a fact I can barely write two sentences without stretching it to 10 and using half a page. I have never been able to write short sentences or thoughts let alone a 30 second commercial.

Anyway, the idea of this commercial is that words hurt. Our diabetic kids know that, in fact I suspect all kids know it, but our diabetic kids know it maybe more than anyone in our community. Parents know it as well, what parent hasn’t been hurt when a mean comment is made about their son or daughter, diabetic or not.

I mention this because the other day I had an example of inadvertent words hurting. I was speaking with someone I often tease with and we were discussing who we let see our pump. It is sort of funny because neither of us started the conversation; we just latched on and were sort of riffing on the topic. I said I wear mine Loud, Proud and Mean (whatever that means). The other person said they are more private and do not like others seeing it. They said of course they let their nephews and nieces see it and even manipulate it. I commented that family doesn’t count. Well it was a throw away statement, I meant it in context meaning letting the family see it is not the same as Loud, Proud and Mean. So we both had a nice laugh sent an additional shot of sarcasm back and forth and went on our way.

Later I got a barb from a person (a mom of a type 1) who said in a shout blast that she hoped that was a sick joke and I should refrain from saying it. I honestly had no idea what she was talking about and she made it plain it was my comment “family don’t matter” that upset her. Well I explained the context she said she knew the context and “stood by her comment”. After all she reminded me that I had no business telling anyone when or how to show their pump to anyone and that these decisions are a private matter and I should never have commented. She then suggested I get some sensitivity training etc. Ok not really sensitivity training but I am sure that is what she meant. No that is not what she meant but I interpreted it that way, sort of. Let’s just say we did not part on a happy basis

Well so step back a little, of course I know family matters in disease. Without my wife I would not be here today for more reasons than just one. Yeah family matters a lot. But taken out of context a comment like mine can be like playing in the parking lot when you are assigned to play infield, it is just not correct.

Of course I was not commenting on the general idea of family and certainly not the impact of parents in management of diabetes. I fear my comment was taken to mean parents don’t matter; of course I never meant it that way and as I say it was taken completely out of context by the bystander.

The person I said it too was not offended (I later apologized to them and they did not even know what had happened) I don’t think anyone who followed the conversation felt that I was offensive, but this person who read a portion of the conversation out of context was offended enough to take exception.

Ok well things happen, so that is cool. I was pretty upset with the whole thing, but yes I have calmed down and started to see the other side of the issue. So in case this person reads this blog, (I know they don’t) I will say unequivocally “Family Matters”, and if you are calm enough now I hope you will understand I never meant it like you received it. Still I should never have said it or maybe I should have said it (no wait, never mind). I will leave it like that.

Ok well yes words matter even if they were inadvertent. Like the Geico commercial I was hit in the head by words that were clearly there, but I never really saw. So yeah I see them now, except (no darn it tuck your tongue Rick). We will leave it at that. I see them now and I apologize. But……



Rick, I don’t care what people say or think of my pump, it’s part of me, or how I wear it.period.

Actually, different family can be very different.

I never "shot up" or tested in front of my mom and dad. Always retreated to my room or bathroom to do so. Same when inlaws are around.

But with my wife and kids I do it in front of them in the kitchen all the time.

Rick, part of the problem is in chat rooms and online forums we lose some of the visual cues that give us a fuller understanding of the person's meaning, including sarcasm, humor, "wink, wink" remarks, etc. Plus, people who don't know you & your sense of humor are ripe for misunderstanding. Everyone here on Tu knows your devotion to your wife, kids, and grandkids. not to mention that your mom had type1 herself and left this world way too early as a result. hugs my friend!

i never hid taking insulin by syringe years ago from my kids
it was a natural thing for me

Well, I was going to bed but...leave it to Rick.

That commercial is hilarious! :D I didn't get it until I watched it a few times.
I'm slow!

It's pretty darn sad when two Friends can't joke around without some noisy eavesdropper getting bent outta shape. I'm offended that she made you feel bad Rick. You did nothing wrong. Thanks for the blog and smile. :)

Marie is certainly right!

Yes, words can hurt, but the person who is offended should also remember this truth.

I love the look on her face when he hits the words. I don't why but it cracks me up every time I see it. It is like she and the viewer share a secret that we now know something that should not be there hit the cowboy. I think it is the western motif, I liked westerns as a kid and now when I see that long shot of the cowboy riding away I want to yell Duck!!!!!! It is way too funny to think of yelling DUCK to John Wayne as he rides away.

The person who took offense is a fairly well known blogger and commenter on most things diabetic. I think that hurt the most. I am trying to raise the level of my blogs to get noticed in the wider blogosphere, so it was especially painful to have a respected commentator make a public negative statement about me. To gain audience one has to play in the bigger blogosphere which is why I attend DSMA on twitter and do guest blogs like the one this past week on Gabby's site. I have another guest blog out there which has not been published as yet and I am working with others with the hoped for result being to drive traffic back to this site. Of course as a guest blogger I drive some traffic to their sites and most important give the regular blogger a break.

Oh well I know for certain she would never get my humor no matter if she liked me or not. Frankly that is alright, I have a pretty strange sense of humor so I am used to folks not getting or liking it. One thing you can say about my humor is that it is different.

Anyway it is good to have a loyal audience on TUD and I really do appreciate each of you following my blog, even if I am a bit out of the mainstream. You know maybe the mainstream needs to change a little. I think there is room out there for everyone, but getting noticed is a tough road that is easier if negative comments aren’t leveled at the blogger. It is probably more a rite of passage.

I always look at it this way, if people have a problem with me, 9 times out of ten, it's their problem not mine. You seem like a good guy, and when people are apt to take things out of context they should try to learn more about the background or context.

Families matter a lot, and it's clear yours matter to you.