Have you ever seen someone that you didn't know but thought "Wow! That is one strange/scary/odd/wild/funny looking dude/gal/boy/girl/creature!" when you knew absolutely nothing at all about them?
Perhaps you are absolutely correct in what your visual observation tells you.
Maybe you never see them again and never get a chance to find out if you were right or wrong.
But maybe we get to know these people a little better and one day discover that what our eyes told us was sadly off the mark.
I would never criticize anyone for this. It's human nature that we do.
I think that this is another part of our self preservation unit's function.
Our mind takes what the eye sees and processes it in order for us to react as we think is appropriate.
Things that appear normal and non-threatening just pass on through and we carry along.
There are other things which our eyes see and the mind catches as different or not what we have become accustomed to.
These people or things are what triggers the prejudgement in our minds.
Did everyone see "Home Alone"?
Do you remember what a wonderful man the creepy looking old guy next door turned out to be?
Even better than that example is one of a couple of guys I knew a long long time ago in high school.
The first guy was a big dude with fairly long light hair and a couple of earrings. He always had a lumberjack jacket on and Greb Kodiak boots on.
He didn't look like the type of guy I would like to have in my circle of friends.
The second guy was pretty interesting looking too. He was almost the opposite of the big dude.
He was tall too but he was pretty slim. His hair was black and really curly.
He had this little goatee which made him look like Snidely Whiplash or any of those other typical movie or cartoon villains.
The big guy was scary but the slim guy was too.
At least this is what they thought of each other.
These two guys saw each other all the time in the school but kept a distance.
Both of them thought "That guy sort of scares me!"
One day the big guy was wearing a tshirt that he bought at a Mike Oldfield concert. He loved the show and loved the shirt.
Mike Oldfield is not a household name in entertainment but those who know him, totally love him.
There aren't a huge number of followers but they certainly are faithful.
The slim guy walked over to the big dude and said "You saw Mike Oldfield? I was there too. I'm a huge fan!"
Guess what? Those two guys became very close friends and remain so to this day.
They were in Rover Scouts together.
Each was always welcome in the other's home at any time.
They hung around every day for the rest of the school year.
They didn't hear from each other for a while as they live very far apart now.
Yet, now that they've reconnected they have shared each others happiness and sadness at the things that have gone on in each other's lives.
One was very very saddened at the other's loss of his sister and his mother since he knew them both well.
I am the big dude and my good pal Al is the slim guy.
Al lives in Europe now and has met a wonderful woman who he married and has a child.
Al may not realize just how happy I am that he found me again after all these years. Until he reads this.
Most of us will only have a handful a people that we will call our true friends.
I am one of the really lucky ones who has two handfuls of them.
And I love each of them dearly.
Al is one of them.
If I had gone by my mind's first impression I would likely never have known what a great guy he is.
We really should be a little more careful that way, shouldn't we?
Dr. Seuss knew all about this and in his usual wonderful way sought to reduce this.
This is another of our favourite stories of all time in our house.
It comes as one of the stories in the Sneetches book. (one that I promise to talk about sometime).
We had not seen the book for quite a while until one of the boys found it the other day.
So we read it that very night.
"What Was I Scared Of?" by Dr. Seuss
Well . . .
I was walking in the night And I saw nothing scary.
For I have never been afraid Of anything. Not very.
Then I was deep within the woods
When, suddenly, I spied them.
I saw a pair of pale green pants
With nobody inside them! I wasn't scared.
But, yet, I stopped
What could those pants be there for?
What could a pair of pants at night
Be standing in the air for?
And then they moved? Those empty pants!
They kind of started jumping.
And then my heart, I must admit,
It kind of started thumping.
So I got out.
I got out fast
As fast as I could go, sir.
I wasn't scared.
But pants like that I did not care for.
After that a week went by.
Then one dark night in Grin-itch (I had to do an errand there
And fetch some Grin-itch spinach)......
Well, I had fetched the spinach.
I was starting back through town
When those pants raced around a corner
And they almost knocked me down!
I lost my Grin-itch spinach
But I didn't even care.
I ran for home!
Believe me, I had really had a scare!
Now, bicycles were never made
For pale green pants to ride 'em,
Especially spooky pale green pants
With nobody inside 'em!
And the NEXT night, I was fishing
For Doubt-trout on Roover River
When those pants came rowing toward me!
Well, I started in to shiver.
And by now I was SO frightened
That, I'll tell you, but I hate to....
I screamed and rowed away and lost my hook and line and bait, too!
I ran and found a Brickle bush I hid myself away.
I got brickles in my britches
But I stayed there anyway.
I stayed all night.
The next night, too I'd be there still, no doubt,
But I had to do an errand
So, the next night, I went out.
I had to do an errand,
Had to pick a peck of Snide In a dark and gloomy Snide-field
That was almost nine miles wide. I said, "I do not fear those pants
With nobody inside them." I said, and said, and said those words.
I said them.
But I lied them.
Then I reached inside a Snide bush
And the next thing that I knew, I felt my hand touch someone!
And I'll bet that you know who.
And there I was!
Caught in the Snide!
And in that dreadful place
Those spooky, empty pants and I were standing face to face!
I yelled for help. I screamed. I shrieked.
I howled. I yowled. I cried,
"OH, SAVE ME FROM THESE PALE GREEN PANTS WITH NOBODY INSIDE!"
But then a strange thing happened.
Why, those pants began to cry!
Those pants began to tremble.
They were just as scared as I!
I never heard such whimpering
And I began to see
That I was just as strange to them
As they were strange to me!
So... I put my arm around their waist
And sat right down beside them.
I calmed them down.
Poor empty pants
With nobody inside them.
And now, we meet quite often,
Those empty pants and I,
And we never shake or tremble,
We both smile and we say..."Hi!"
Every time we read the last line the boys and I wave at each other and say "hi!" together.
I agree that pale green pants with nobody inside them are quite unusual but I'm going to say "Hi!" the next time I see some coming my way.
You should too.
You never know, they may become one of your best friends.
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