I was reading through Facebook updates last week and came across an image shared by a friend of mine. Like so many of the word images shared on Facebook, I immediately laughed when I read it.
But more interesting was the commentary beneath it. My friend also found this funny, saying this was so like her. Another of her friends, however, replied that as a mother of a child with ADD, she didn’t find it funny at all.
Hmmm. It make me wonder if I should feel guilty for laughing?
Would this be considered making fun of a disability? I don’t know. I mean, for many types of humor, there is often a nugget of truth that is exaggerated for comedic effect, or a stereotype stretched to a ridiculous extent. If I was to be offended by any exaggeration of a personality trait, physical trait or behavior, I’d pretty much have to avoid every comedy club and never watch The Daily Show ever again. I’d really miss Jon Stewart.
But I don’t know if laughing at something like the image above is equal to teasing the kid who is different on the playground. My take on the image is also a little different because I actually have ADD. I read that statement and think, “Hell yeah, I’ve had days not too different from that!” Days when I’m in a full contact wrestling match with my mind to pin down a little focus - on any topic, I don’t even care which one - just for a few minutes.
So I read that and see the nugget of truth. It IS hard to focus with ADD. I’ve had moments where friends stare at me strangely because I’ve jumped topics in such a way that they don’t see the connection.
On the other hand, I can understand her friend not finding it funny. We all have our trigger issues that we don’t see any humor in. I’m certain her friend does have rough days caring for a child with ADD. As a mom of a daughter with autism, I get it. Years ago, when Cordy was newly diagnosed, I wouldn’t have found any jokes about autism funny, either. I can respect her view, because no one can tell someone else what is or isn’t funny to them.
For me, however, I do appreciate the humor. As long as it isn’t intended in a harmful or mean-spirited nature or intended to tease one person, poking fun at ADD, or any other condition, in a gentle way is fine with me. I even appreciate a good autism joke – Cordy and I have learned to laugh at some of the more silly aspects of autism, of which there are MANY if you look closely enough.
It also boils down to a simple mantra for me: laugh or cry. There are moments when I need, need, NEED to pay attention, to focus, to not screw up some important task that I must stay on track to complete. Sometimes I win out; other times I fail. I can either choose to cry in frustration at my limitations, or I can laugh at them and move on. One way is certainly less depressing than the other.
So I apologize if you read the above joke on ADD and are offended, because no offense was intended. (Whoa, that rhymed. Sorry, I tried writing that sentence another way and it didn’t sound nearly as good.)
I also don’t know if it’s more acceptable to laugh at an ADD joke posted by someone who has ADD, but if so, laugh away. I certainly did.
(PS – It took me a week and about a dozen starts and stops to write this post. Can you tell it’s been a rough week? See? This is me choosing to laugh.)