Laughed at

January 23, 2010

Sometimes, I get laughed at. It's happening a lot, right now. I get laughed at in dance class, especially tap. I get laughed at for having the nerve to call myself a "composer" in a school full of singers. I get laughed at for being older than my peers, for putting on a dress and a wig and doing a queer Christmas play.

My new school, NDNU, is full of undergrads who are somehow socially coarser, yet sexually more prurient, than my somewhat older and kinder friends at PSR. I caught a table full of them laughing at me the other day. I don't know why.

Fortunately, it's not what it sounds like. In many cases, people are laughing "with" me, not "at" me. After all, I put on that wig and did that play HOPING to get laughs!

Watching me trying to master tap steps IS comical. I'm laughing too! I also laugh at my relative age compared to the people around me, and I laugh at the situation that got me here.

Because I'm in school with people half my age and live with a person roughly double my age, I've been thinking a lot about youth and aging. Sadly, most of the examples I have from my mom-in-law in the aging department fall in the "don't" category.

One of the reasons Ms. Carolyn doesn't get out much is that she fears being laughed at. She doesn't want to be thought of as "that old lady with the limp" or "that woman with the bandage on her face" (she recently had a benign skin cancer removed and wouldn't go anywhere until the bandage was off).

I think a sense of humor about oneself, and a willingness to put oneself in positions where one is sure to be laughed at, are healthy things to nurture. They keep you from taking yourself so seriously or getting so wrapped up in vanity that you limit the things you're willing to try.

I hope my reach always exceeds my grasp. I hope I'm always a newbie at something.

And the mean kids at NDNU? They can't possibly be meaner than I was, at their age! If they bug me too much, I'll give them a li'l taste!

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