|Print | Back||September 9, 2013|
Life on Planet KathyMeeting Godzilla's Mother
by Kathryn H. Kidd
Fluffy and I were headed toward Sunday School last week, and as usual we beat the crowds and were the first ones to get to the Relief Society room. We have learned that it’s much easier to navigate a wheelchair if you’re not swimming upstream, salmonlike, against a river full of people. I, for one, do not like being a salmon.
When we got there, Fluffy left me in my wheelchair in the hallway as he turned to open the door to the room. As I sat there, a boy I had never seen before passed in front of my chair. I could almost see the light bulb illuminate in his wee little brain. He pivoted around, jumped into the air, and stomped down with both feet as hard as he could on my left foot.
I’m not going to pretend the kid was André the Giant. He was about six or seven years old, or maybe he was three or four years old. I can’t tell these things. The point is, he was no heavyweight. But no matter how old he was, he landed on me with all the force he was capable of. My first thought was, “Wow. I’m glad that foot is paralyzed. If it weren’t, I’d be in a world of pain.”
All this happened so quickly that neither Fluffy nor I was able to grab the little boy, or even say anything to him before he disappeared down the hall. As the kid marched off, just as proud of himself as Godzilla would have been after squashing the Empire State Building, all I managed to say was exactly what I’d been thinking: “Gee, I’m glad that foot is paralyzed instead of broken. If it weren’t paralyzed, I’d be in a world of hurt.”
(Technically, I’ve learned that in my own experience there’s a whole lot of pain associated with being paralyzed. Everyone thinks that paralyzed = numb, but my “numbness” has been associated with enough screaming that I got private rooms in all my hospitals. But that’s a column for another day. For the purposes of being Godzilla-stomped, let’s assume that because my foot was “only” paralyzed, it survived the attack pain-free.)
Suddenly a woman appeared. “Did that little boy just stomp on your foot?” she asked.
“He sure did,” I said.
“That’s my son,” she said.
This is where the story gets weird — because the story ends here. Mom did not look at my foot to see if it was bleeding. She did not ask me if my foot had been injured. She did not say, “That’s my son,” in any way that indicated she was:
Embarrassed by Godzilla’s rampage;
Ready to inflict the Wrath of God on her son;
Weary of her son’s antics;
Proud of her son’s creativity, or
Counting the seconds until she could tell her husband they were going to have to move out of their brand new ward because she was too humiliated to continue living here.
She did not do any of those things. She matter-of-factly said, “That’s my son.” And she walked off.
I told the story to the ladies sitting next to me in Relief Society. We all decided the fault did not lie with Godzilla. We may not like to admit it, but stomping on the feet of women in wheelchairs is what little boys do. It is probably written in the Little Boy Job Description, somewhere between “playing with matches” and “running around naked in public places.”
No, the fault lay with the mother, who just may have owed me some explanation for her son’s foot-stomping behavior (“He’s being raised by wolves”) or some sort of apology (“I’m sorry if he injured you, but at least he didn’t use his machete this time”) — or maybe just some concern, even if it was fake, as to whether the Empire State Building had suffered pain from the feet of Godzilla when he had stomped it to smithereens.
I wonder if Mom will be just as nonchalant when Young Son knocks over his first convenience store. “Yes, officer, that is my son wearing the ski mask, holding the assault rifle, and sporting the CTR tattoo on his right arm.”
For my part, I did the only thing I could do. I tried my best to put the dear sister’s face out of my mind, so if she does continue living in our ward I will not recognize her or Godzilla if I come in contact with them again. On second thought, maybe I should try to remember Godzilla for the safety of my feet and other body parts. When I see him stomping down the hall, we can quickly take an alternate route to our destination.
This is the kind of thing that happens when you live in a ward. Anyone who is looking to be offended could find a new source of offense every week. But life is too short for that, so it makes a lot more sense to laugh off the potential offenses and realize that people — even good people — still make mistakes every day of their lives.
But this doesn’t mean that young Godzilla will be at the top of my Christmas gift list this year. It’s probably just as well. I have no idea what to buy for a lizard, anyway.
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