“Handling Things” Yourself. Not Always Good. Not Always Convenient.

Warning: This material could be found offensive to stuffy, over sensitive, holier than thou, Phariseeical type people. Seriously, this blog is rated PG13. It’s not for little eyes. And don’t get all bent out of shape! Life isn’t rated G!

Have you ever misunderstood someone and that misunderstanding lead to one disastrous moment? I mean, a moment so monumental that it’ll never be forgotten? Well, if that’s never happened to you you’re lucky! The story I’m about to tell you is true. The names have been changed, so as not to embarrass anyone. Hope you enjoy!

My friend, we’ll call her Gina, has a son who’s on the spectrum. Or as she says “He’s autistic and some change.” As many of you know, people who are autistic often have social issues such as doing or saying things in front of others that might not be appropriate. Not much of a filter I guess you might say. Trust me, I can relate! A brain injury is very similar! Anyway when Gina’s son John was approaching adolescence, much like other young men his age, he discovered that it felt good to um….touch himself. Having no filter, there were times that might happen in very embarrassing places. Don’t gasp! If you have a son, a husband, or have heard of the male species, then you know this is a normal part of life. They had the talk with John about how he would go blind and grow hair on his palms. I’m kidding! They had the talk about the inappropriateness of it all and yada yada yada. 

As John entered high school, he’d been taken out of the Special Ed unit and placed in mainstream classes. John was, and still is, a very colorful, loving, and quite entertaining fellow. Everyone loves John! His antics, sometimes caused by others mind you, often resulted in phone calls from the principal. So in this day, when Gina got a call from the principal, it was just another phone call. Or so she thought!

Gina was at work so when she saw the school’s  number on the caller id she almost didn’t answer. She really didn’t have time to hear how John had gotten up and walked around the room while the teacher was talking. She often found herself wondering if they could handle anything without calling her. Then she remembered that the super power of common sense hardly exists in our public schools. Begrudgingly she took the call. They exchanged greetings, and Gina impatiently listened, thinking to herself, I’m so glad I had to stop what I was doing to hear that John said something that disrupted the class. But as she listened, she just wished that’d been the case! Gina’s heart sank, and her jaw dropped as she heard the principal say, “Gina, John was masturbating in class.” 

Gina’s thoughts began to race. I thought we’d moved past this. Why did the principal say this so calmly?! I think I’m going to throw up. What the $!#@ was he thinking. I’m going to kill him! When she snapped out of it, she decided right then and there she’d had enough. Put him back in the Speacial Ed unit, she said through gritted teeth. She was trying her best not to yell. After all, she was in an office with other folks. The principal acted as if Gina was overreacting. Now, let’s not jump the gun here Gina. John is here, would you like to speak with him? Heck yes she wanted to speak with him! Or TO him! He really didn’t need to say a word! She didn’t wait for him to say hello, she heard him breathe and started in! What were you thinking?! We had talked about this! I guess you need to see a psychiatrist! Is that it?! Do you need to see a psychiatrist?! You’re seeing a psychiatrist! I can’t believe you! Poor John nervously said yes m’am. He knew better than to say anything else! 

The principal got back on the phone, and again tried to calm Gina. He assured her that there was no need to put him back in the Special Ed unit, that it wasn’t that big of a deal, he just wanted to make her aware of the problem. Not that big of a deal she thought. Are you kidding me?! What kind of school is this?! She called her husband, Jay. By this time she’s crying uncontrollably. She tells Jay about the phone call, and how she just can’t take anything more. She tells him that this time, he’s going to have to handle things. She tells him to go to the school immediately and fix things. By now Jay is upset. His wife is crying and his son has embarrassed the family by doing the unthinkable at school! In the classroom!! 

Jay walks into the principles office and immediately starts apologizing. I’m so sorry. We thought we had addressed the problem. I thought he understood. We are good, christian people! We don’t do this kind of thing! The principal had a very confused look on his face. Jay, what exactly do you think John was doing?! Jay could hardly muster the cahunas to answer he question. He gulped and stared. He knew he had to say something, so he just said it. Masturbating! John was masturbating in class! I’m so sorry! The principal stared at him with wide eyes. I’m sure his eyes were bulging because he was straining so hard to keep from laughing. Finally he said, Jay, John wasn’t masturbating in class! He was flatulating! You know? Farting!? Needless to say, Jay left the school with a red face and his head down. 

As relieved as Jay was, he was fuming at Gina for making him embarrass himself! He called her the minute he had shut the car door. Gina, what did the principal say to you? Not wanting to repeat those words out loud, in a office setting, for fear of someone overhearing, she said, you know what he said! Jay’s blood pressure went up a few points. No Gina. I want you to tell me, word for word, what he said to you! After having looked around to make sure no one was within earshot, she covered her mouth with her hand and loudly whispered, he said John was masturbating in class! Exasperated, and through slightly gritted teeth, Jay said, no Gina, that’s not what he said. He said that John was flatulating in class! He was farting! Not….the other! 

After they had a good laugh, Gina made a call to the principal. She politely told him that, in their home, they didn’t use words like flatulating. And that he’d better not ever call her again over farts! She strongly encouraged him to handle the situation himself. She was, however, relieved to realize that their principal was flippant over a person doing that in the classroom! 

When John got home, Gina apologized for threatening to send him to a psychiatrist. His response? I started to say, dang, if I have to see a shrink for farting, we all have to go! The moral of this story is this; don’t be so busy jumping to conclusions that you miss what is actually being said! And remember, don’t always assume that everyone takes matters into their own hands, so to speak. Sometimes, all a person needs is to sit back , blow off a little “steam” and let the situation work itself out!

 My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. James 1:19

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