30 September 2007

Hero Worship, Fat and Political Correctness

Man, I am beat. The boys and I spent the weekend visiting my family in Columbus. Matt was in a giant airshow at Rickenbacker, and so we went to Aunt Chris's house for the weekend. We went to the airshow on Saturday and the kids thought that they were such big stuff, because they got to go up to the flight deck and no one else did. Perks of being the pilot's kids. Kids were asking Matt for his autograph, which my sisters both got such a kick out of. They said they didn't know that their brother in law was a celebrity ;)

Today Matt got to meet a guy who is an honest to goodness war hero...a double ace from World War II. He sounded like a jazzed-up little kid on the phone when he was telling me about meeting him. Which got me thinking.....I never got into hero worship as a kid, not the way some kids idolize sports stars, or music stars, or pilots, or doctors or whatever. Idolizing someone who does the thing you want to do when you grow up. I don't hero worship now. There are people who would be really awesome to meet, but I don't know what I would ever say to them. I walked through the WASP (Womens Airforce Service Pilots) tent at the airshow, and while I think those women are fabulous and truly made history, I wouldn't have a clue what to say to any of them. They were signing books and lots of people didn't wonder at all what to say. Am I just strange? Wait, don't answer that....

Matt was talking about meeting the ace and how he was stumbling all over himself and my first thought was, "Well, what did you say to him?" What would you say? He could barely contain himself. And he's a grown man! Most of the time.....;)

That's the random thought that kept coming back to me today.

Oh, and here's another one. My sister thinks she is fat. I disagree, but whatever. Which kind of ties back into my previous post, but I digress. None of us is perfect looking....maybe she could lose a few pounds, but she's not FAT, like she thinks she is. She's always down on herself and worrying about what she's eating....how she's doing on her diet, etc. Well today, we were at lunch, waiting for a table, and Lucas said something about her belly. I don't know, I didn't hear all of it, but she said,"That's just Aunt Chris's fat belly," making fun of herself and laughing about it. I told her the same thing I always tell her, that I think she is way too hard on herself. But then we dropped it and I didn't give it any more thought.

Tonight when he getting out of the bathtub, Lucas stuck his belly out really far and said,"Look, Mom, I'm fat." That is when it started to bother me a little bit. So we talked a little bit about fat, what fat is, what it means to be fat, and if it's ok to say someone is fat. I told them that we all need to have fat on our bodies, that it helps our bodies do different things. But then I also said that too much fat isn't healthy. I said that some people are too heavy and that isn't healthy, but that it is rude and hurtful to call someone fat, and it's never ok to say mean things to hurt people's feelings. But I hate that my seven year old (who is literally skin and bones) and my five year old (who is solid and stocky) are even thinking about such things.

Am I pandering at the altar of political correctness, to tell my kids that it is rude and hurtful to say that someone is fat, even if they really are? Can we not call a spade a spade? I was called fat plenty of times as a kid....my nickname was "Elsie." As in, the Borden cow. My own father told me that I was the only "fat broad" in our family. This is when I was about 145-150 pounds...I am 5'6". Not skinny-minnie, but not morbidly obese either. Just for some perspective. That doesn't change that "fat" definitely has a negative connotation and it hurts people's feelings, though.

Someone once told me that political correctness is a form of intellectual terrorism. I agree for the most part. We all need to grow a thicker skin, I think, and learn to get over our differences. But we also can't have people saying whatever thought comes to mind, about whoever they please, without any kind of filtering process going on. Words only have as much power as we give them. Where do we draw a line?

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