Oops, I appear to have upset some other stroke survivors.
I was looking at Facebook, at my news feed, and I saw a post by a charity that I follow. Their post highlighted a stroke survivor’s blog entry, comparing the effects of a stroke to some of the subplots from Star Wars. It make me chuckle, I thought this (to make the comparison) was quite an amusing thing to do, a kind of pointless exercise, so I posted a “laugh” reaction, and made a comment to the effect that maybe the blog’s author had too much time on their hands.
By this I meant that, way back all those years ago, there was absolutely no way George Lucas could have realised that his film franchise would become such a behemoth, it was just A.N. Other film, so for us to now interpret pieces of its script as deep and meaningful mantras is probably somewhat misplaced. I think there’s a danger of attaching far too much significance to these things…. But of course this is lighthearted stuff, both the comparison itself and my comment – none of this is going to change the world.
However, a couple of people seized on the “time on their hands” phrase and said that yes, a disabled person would have a lot of time on their hands. Clearly my remark had been received by some as far more serious than it was intended. I wasn’t really concerned that some of the commenters hadn’t understood my attempt at a joke (it falls kind of flat now in any case as I sit here and dissect it), but one person who commented was the author of the blog, who said that the post had taken some considerable effort, given how his stroke had left him, and so I felt obliged to explain my remark and apologise.
But that small incident has consequences. First, it highlights how there is a fine line between ribbing someone about something, and causing them offence. Second, I think I need to stop commenting on such posts and keep my thoughts to myself, especially with the posts of a stroke charity, where other followers might get upset. The last thing I’d want to do is to upset someone over something this trivial. And if I feel if I shouldn’t comment, it’s probably safer just not to subscribe to the content in the first place, just to keep out of temptation’s way.
If my reaction seems a bit irrational, maybe it was brought on by the stroke? Or, maybe I’d have had the same reaction even if I hadn’t had one? Who’s to say?