instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Like I need a hole in the head

Suppose you're chatting with several acquaintances, in the course of which you say, "But I'll get hit in the head by a meteorite before I get the hang of candy making." One of the women in your group begins sobbing.

What do you do if someone else explains that her husband (unbeknownst to you) was killed by a meteorite? (Hey, it could happen.)

You apologize and comfort her as best you can, right? You don't say, "I was talking about me, not your husband," or, "Come on, it's just a figure of speech," or, "Oh, please, like I was trying to upset you." That's because her being upset makes immediate sense to you once you understand the facts.

But what if, instead, the other person explains she had just watched a soap opera episode in which a character was killed by a meteorite?

Or what if there is no explanation -- if, say, you were only speaking with just the one woman, who suddenly began sobbing?

Or what if meteorite victims weren't as uncommon as you thought?

To translate the questions into the context of my exegesis of "Nobody Loves Me But My Mother":

How common are the spiritually fragile among those whom you come into contact with? How prepared are you to respond to them? How understanding or sympathetic?