Apologies, and encouragement to seek joy in life.

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Blog entry by dbhost posted 11-25-2009 05:13 PM 1486 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’d like to share with you a story about someone whom I had known, and had my life greatly improved by. Her name was Jeanine, and she was a fellow co worker of mine at a job I had worked in college.

Jeanine was a special needs person. Born with Downs Syndrome, and a raft of other health problems she was not destined for Harvard, or even independent living. She was however one of the most stress free, joyful people I have ever known.

Jeanine did know how to read and write, she could type, browse the web, and carry on at least a reasonable conversation as long as things don’t get too technical.

While there were a lot of things that she simple didn’t get, Jeanine loved jokes, and humor of all sorts. While not all the time, she did understand, and appreciated irony. And she hated political correctness. She hated people light footing around her condition. “Don’t call me developmentally challenged! I’m retarded.” she would fuss at fellow coworkers who made the mistake of trying to be politically correct about her condition.

Throughout my life, Jeanine is far from the only person with these, or other sorts of challenges I have met. She however was probably what would be considered the most advanced in her thought processes. Her mother once told me that she was effectively stuck at the developmental level of a 5th grader. I can see that.

There was an image I had posted, that was originally shown to me by Jeanine, about arguing on the internet. The responses I received in the thread I posted that image in, truly sadden me. I am sad that my point was missed, but sadder yet that those that got offended did so through bypassing the joy in every day life, and in humor.

All of us, unless there has been some sort of genetic engineering, and most likely surgical interventions, have some sort of physical, or mental challenges as we go through our day to day lives. We can make choices about how we go through our lives. We can chose to live life to its fullest, full of joy, friendship, and laughter, or we can chose to be offended at every perceived wrong doing. There are those that have greater reasons than I to chose to be offended but they chose joy instead, and for that, they show enviable wisdom.

Other posters have asked me to remove the linked image. I cannot do that as I don’t know how to do that here. (The edit function goes away after an hour). I understand how some folks can be offended. And if you are truly, and honestly offended, I offer a sincere apology, it was not my intent to offend. I do have to ask. Isn’t it more offensive to ask me to dishonor the memory of somebody that no longer shares this world with us, and squash some of the joy that her life brought?

For those curious, Jeanine left us in July 2008

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8 comments so far

View FlWoodRat's profile


732 posts in 3903 days

#1 posted 11-25-2009 05:55 PM

Db,, I did not see your original post so I can not speak to the need for an apology. I can say that Jeanine’s story reminded me of a wonderful childhood friend “Alice”. She was afflicted with Cerebral Palsy (notice that I did not say ‘suffered from’). Her condition challenged her physical abilities, but never her spirit. From her gift of joy, we all gained. Thanks for reminding me of her.


-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning....

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5851 posts in 3188 days

#2 posted 11-25-2009 06:14 PM

Hey db—this in no way offended me personally, because like a lot of people, I have a disability, also. I got mine from Viet Nam in 1967, when I stepped on a land mine and was shot twice. The doctors told me then I would always be disabled and be handicapped to a certain degree. But I decided that I would make the best of it, and wouldn’t let it get to me—and it hasn’t. I spent a really long time in and out of six different hospitals over the years, and many major surgeries. But I whipped it as best I could, and here I am. I’m not embarressed or ashamed that I’m like this. It can’t be helped. I have no regrets about what happened to me. Alot of my friends know my condition, and they don’t care. A friend is a friend, and it sounds like that’s what you were to that lady. When you posted the pixs, I too laughed. The language people use today really gets me—physically challenged, mentally challanged—crap—call what it is. Disabled, crippled, retarded, etc. Different language ain’t gonna change it—it’s the same whatever you call it. A domestic engineer is a housewife. Talk English, and get off the fancy words, or get a dictionary and look it up. I’m disabled, and that’s that. Keep on keeping on !!!

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View a1Jim's profile


117086 posts in 3571 days

#3 posted 11-25-2009 06:39 PM

Thank you for the wonderful post . I’m sorry for the loss of Jeanine she sounds like a wonderful person .

Hey Rick
Even though your disabled your fighting a good fight and going on with life the best you can . When people complain about business being slow or there cut finger or a project that didn’t come out I hope the can be inspired from people like you an Jeanine and be grateful that they don’t have your challenges . My you both
(db and Rick) have a great thanksgiving surrounded by people you care about.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Andrew's profile


709 posts in 3192 days

#4 posted 11-25-2009 07:02 PM

Thank You, your heart felt setiment and sensitivity is appreciated, I think people sometimes like to find fault where ever they can. It is not right, but, it affects those of us who enjoy the world and the uniqueness that we all share. If the sun was always big a red with pink and orange hues, we would not appreciate the sunset. Look for the miracles every day and look for what is right in the world, rather than trying to find fault in others and life will be magnificeint. We are all unique, we are all special, we all have the ability to appreciate the diversity found in this miraculous world.
That is how I feel.
Thank You again.

-- Even a broken clock is right twice a day, unless, it moves at half speed like ....-As the Saw Turns

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4091 days

#5 posted 11-25-2009 07:02 PM

Having been a member of this site for a couple of years I am amazed at the loss of community over time. The site used to be much more supportive and friendly than it has been in the more recent times. I hope that we can return to those days. Although I am not sure that it is realistic to expect this will happen given the growth of the site.

As far as being offended, I would say that I am more disturbed by the over all lack of civility in these flame threads than your specific posting. I understand the humor in it, but is not a form of humor I would choose to use myself. Offensive materials really tie back to the person viewing the materal and not the person posting. If it offends someone, you should respect their viewpoint. Personally, I prefer the wrestling with pig analogy. If you wrestle with a pig you both get mud on you and the pig enjoys it. (Although, I am sure I offended a pig somewhere out there. )

In closing, my 18 year old son is Autistic. I hope that my son can live with the same level of grace, humor and self-awareness as Jeanine did.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3109 days

#6 posted 11-25-2009 07:27 PM

I don`t now what you apology for becurse I haven`t seen the first post will I am new here but I do now how people with different handicap (signese, lost mobility, retardet, and old people that think they can`t do anything anymore and just wan`t to sit in à corner) like to be treadet by other people. In my experients (the last 17 years) I have been Taxidriver with cars speciel build for wheelchairs and come every day on centers where they live and they give me big smiles and lot of chrismasgift`s becurse I don`t thread them different.
They love when I make jokes (with a smile) about them, they even ask (if there is a day that I don`t said anything other than the normal hello) are you angry today driver.
Please don`t misunderstand me I like USA Dang you people you are just to mush politicle correct and polite

Dennis (persernaly fightet back from wheelchair after a accident with car 1981)

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5851 posts in 3188 days

#7 posted 11-25-2009 08:15 PM

Db: Hey, Don’t let it bother you any. We are who we are—I am who I am. Like I said we have to keep on keeping on.

Jim: Thanks for your comments. I just don’t let my disability get to me. I’m so use to it, I think nothing of it anymore. I’m in pretty good shape(for the shape I’m in), have a lovely wife of 32 years, great kids and gkids, a good life, and no worries or stress!! lol. But one thing I am grateful for—having a wood shop to work in and do what I love best——working the wood. You have a great Thanksgiving holiday, and all the rest of you jocks out there as well. I am grateful for this site, and the good group of men(and women) I’ve come in contact with. I’ll be around checking the site to see what happens next !!!!!!

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View OhValleyWoodandWool's profile


970 posts in 3114 days

#8 posted 11-25-2009 09:29 PM

I didn’t see your original post but having read some of your other post I absolutely can not beleive that an apology would be needed. Jeanine sounds like she was a wonderful person and a good friend. I’m sorry for your loss.


-- "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then Success is sure." Mark Twain

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