So this year I have been serving on an important committee in my department, and back before I had to pull out of my classes, I agreed to chair it. I have continued to participate in and run committee meetings by Skype, but I decided that my chairing this committee is really not good for me or for the department, so I asked in December for other members to consider stepping forward.
At the end of today’s meeting, after we had selected a new chair, one of the members made the joke, “The chair is dead. Long live the chair!”
So fucking hilarious.
And so typical, I think, of people who have no idea what is going on but can’t pass up the opportunity to crack a joke.
Would it be that hard for someone who is quite intelligent to see that saying this while the dead chair is in the room, the dead chair who is out on sick leave, might not be quite as hilarious as they think?
I suppose he doesn't know, since I've not really mentioned it, that the likelihood of my returning to work is pretty small. Or that, in all likelihood, or for all practical purposes, my academic career, or at least my career in teaching, is dead.
But even so. Even without that detail, how hard is it really to realize that this is not the thing to say to the person who has just explicitly said that she is stepping down because of sick leave?
So, just as I forgive all those people whose response to chronic illness is to say "Hope you get well soon!" as having good intentions, even though their little toss-off comments offers me and my definitively-not-getting-better self yet another--because I get these comments over and over and over again--reminder of how not getting better I am, soon or not.
Just as I forgive them, I need to forgive this little hilarious asshole, because he doesn't know better.
Well honestly: when can we start expecting people to know better?
How hard is it, after all, to get beyond your own limited world-view and consider where someone else is coming from for a change?
And this from people who pride--yes pride--themselves on being enlightened about difference coming from race, class, gender, and sexuality, but wear their ableism like an arrogant badge of Don't Bother Me With Your Problems.