Friday, 8 November 2013

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO TACT?

Has this ever happened to you? Somebody starts talking about their pets and you tell them about your rabbit, guinea pig, or other type of creature other than a dog or cat. Instead of accepting the fact that you like this or that animal as a pet, the person you're speaking to starts talking about recipes. Even when you let that person know that your pig, hen, or goat is a pet, the fool tries to justify her or his tactlessness.

Because I have a rabbit living in my kitchen, boorish individuals feel it necessary to talk about how delicious they are. I try to be as polite as possible when I tell them that my Deborah is a beloved pet but some folks just don't get it. When I mention that dogs and cats are delicacies in some Asian countries, my point still doesn't get across.

I believe I was fortunate to grow up in an age before tactfulness went out of style. My mother, teachers, and supervisors at Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind taught me that if I couldn't say something nice, I shouldn't say anything at all. They also showed me how The Golden Rule works both ways. Perhaps I'm wrong but it seems that people have forgotten this important lesson.

Because of this, I mourn with people whose dog died, even though I'm not a "dog person." I'm not a "bird person" either but I sympathize when somebody's budgie passes on. Some people have rats for pets while others have snakes, yet I don't make stupid remarks. It's their choice, just as it's my choice to have a house rabbit.

I also tire of the dead rabbit stories people feel they must tell me. Did I ask them for a run-down on how their dog killed the bunny? Why can't they say, "That's nice," or something similar? Instead, they tactlessly blurt what they ought to know would hurt the feelings of a rabbit-loving person such as myself.

I've also had some tactless comments made about my poor vision. One local senior citizen even had the nerve to suggest that my life wasn't worth living. Though that belief once was accepted as normal, it still hurt. Sight-impaired people lead productive and happy lives in spite of their lack of sight. My hope is that as people get to know me, they'll realize that blindness or poor vision isn't a living death.

I wrote about my love of Rabbits in When a Man Loves a Rabbit: Learning and Living With Bunnies. It chronicles the amazing discoveries I made while living with house rabbits and the wonderful times we had.

I also wrote about my struggles of being institutionalized, beginning at seven years of age, in Deliverance from Jericho: Six Years in a Blind School. In a matter-of-fact way, I describe what life was like there and how I felt about being five-hundred miles from home for months at a stretch.


My first two books are on the Bruce Atchison's books page. How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Barnes & Noble,    and Virtual Bookworm Publishers in e-book and paperback form