There’s a fine line between oversensitivity (and the inability to take a joke) and advocacy. I was reminded of that this morning when a friend of mine posted the same Facebook joke that inspired my post from July 2015 about algebra.
Some days I can roll with diabetes jokes, like the song lyric from Shrek:
“. . . like donuts and . . . (what goes with donuts?) . . . donuts and . . . DIABETES!”
Other days, my hackles are raised by a joke that has absolutely nothing to do with diabetes, but I’m making that connection based on my experience. That’s the case with the Facebook joke in question. Four years ago, I’d have shared the same joke.
Seen on Facebook: a T-shirt that says
Well, another day has passed and I didn’t use algebra once.
The person who posted it observed, “Still holds true!”
My fingers have been hovering over that comment button…that’s because there’s algebra right on my kitchen whiteboard, algebra that I use almost every day.
Algebra for diabetics and the people who love them. Because sometimes a person just doesn’t want a whole serving of something, and then you have to do some math.
I can’t afford to indulge the thought that algebra is useless and that I haven’t thought about it once since I took the GREs in 1986.
It’s more useful than you think.
I’m not bitter about having to use algebra. I’m grateful that my husband has a better grasp on it than I do, because he took several semesters of calculus, so he helped work out the formula that comes in handy when The Kid wants something other than the labeled serving size of a particular food. I’m grateful that I can remember a little bit of algebra, thanks to my long-suffering Algebra 2 teacher who never gave up on me.
And I wish, very sincerely, that the people who posted that photo of a T-shirt implying that algebra is useless never have a child with diabetes. I hope they never have to use algebra like I have to use algebra.
As the mom of a teenager with Type 1 Diabetes I often encounter well-meaning misunderstanding about his disease. I try to understand that in most cases, it’s just because people care. Just as I’d ask a person with a known food allergy if the food I am planning to serve is safe for them, so I do appreciate that people think to check in with me about my son’s needs.
It’s all a question of how I deal with the misconceptions. He didn’t get diabetes from eating too many donuts. He can have a donut. He should not have six donuts (then again, neither should anyone else).
I find myself, sometimes, growing impatient when people ask questions, rather than appreciating that they care enough to ask instead of just making assumptions based on bad information.
And sometimes, like today, I just can’t take a joke.