When it comes to my eyes, it’s a strange thing to try to define the line between what’s okay to joke with me about and what isn’t. I don’t take well to mean-spirited joking of any sort – if you’re the sort of person who makes sexist jokes about women getting black eyes because they didn’t listen the first time, seriously, here’s a bag of dicks – please chew on them the next time you have a hunger pang. Same with racist jokes. Same with any jokes that would put anyone in any sort of discomfort.
I do not like your sense of humor. You can be funny without being a fucking asshole. Try it.
And let me get this absolutely clear right out of the gate – if you make fun of anyone for having a disability, pay very close attention to the next few seconds. See that thing looping towards your face? That’s my fist. Say hi. Give it a little kiss. With your teeth.
That being said, there’s a lot of periphery stuff about being blind that is hysterically funny, and it might seem weird and hypocritical, but that stuff is – at least when you’re talking to me – perfectly fine to laugh at… if it’s me or someone I’m very close to telling the story.
About five or six years back, I went down to the bank to cash a check or deposit money or beg on my hands and knees for them to quit charging people fines for having less than $200 in their bank accounts. Yep, that’s a thing. And it’s delightful, particularly when your income is marginal and you’re… you know… trying to save so it isn’t.
Anyways, our bank is a rustic, A-frame styled thing with log walls, high log-supported log-ceilings, log interiors, and logs on logs on logs. Why? It’s better than bad, it’s wood. And if you get that, give yourself a pat on the back, 90’s kid.
I settled into a leather chair, no doubt wincing and wishing I was about fifty pounds lighter so I didn’t feel like I was about to bust the sides off the chair. The very nice clerk asked me how my day was going and what I’d like to do. I caught something out of the corner of my eye and thought, “Oh, shit, I totally cut in line ahead of someone.” So I turned, me being me, and said very politely, “Oh hey, sorry, didn’t see you, I’ll be done in just a second.”
The person I’d snuck in front of in line? It was a log support beam.
I started roaring with laughter, and the poor clerk looked like she was either about to cry or join in, and couldn’t make up her mind. I use that as my favorite example of when it’s okay to laugh because in that situation, you’re laughing with me. It’s a silly thing to happen – and guess what? I do it practically every week. Not necessarily at the bank, but I couldn’t tell you the number of stop signs, fire hydrants, or lamp posts I thought were people and started to say hello to before I can finally see them.
Like I say, this is most definitely NOT universal, but here’s the best litmus test as to whether or not it’s okay to laugh with me about this crap – if you’re actually wondering in the back of your mind if it’s okay to laugh, you’re definitely the sort of person I want to laugh with me. If you’re the sort of person whose response is to immediately laugh and think that stuff’s hilarious… well, maybe stop for a second. Are we close? If yeah, then by all means, it’s fine. But if we’re acquaintances, maybe watch for my cue. In general, I’m going to show you it’s fine by laughing deliriously myself, and in that case, go for it.
It’s kind of like being in a group in a bar. If you the loudmouthed asshole laughing hardest at everything out of your own mouth and you can’t ever seem to recognize that, I’m not comfortable with you laughing at my Magoo moments. You do not understand your own boundaries or the stress you are putting on other people by making them emotionally uncomfortable.
But if you’re one of those magical people caught between doubt and wanting to laugh with me, congratulations. You’re my people and I love you and it’s okay to laugh with me when I look right past a clerk and tell a bubblegum machine hello.
Absolutely none of this makes sense. I understand that. I guess the point is… just try to be self-aware.