Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Do the Right Thing

Thinking about Bucky Beaver in my last post, and continuing to stroll down the memory lane of a young girl, I am reminded about the time I adopted a rather awkward cousin.

Once I learned the basics of swimming, I was a regular at our local swim pool. Joe, one of the lifeguards, was a tall, gawky guy. He wore heavy lensed black framed glasses, had large ears, massive puffy lips, and a very interesting way of moving those long legs of his as he walked the deck around the pool area. He was someone the kids were always snickering about. Having been taunted by the Bucky Beaver moniker, I made sure to not go along with what the other kids were saying, but I had not stood up for him either. One day, I had had it with the funny things they were saying about him, and the who’s this mockery. When they started in, as they usually did when he was on deck, I spoke up and said, “That’s not nice, and by the way, Joe’s my cousin!” They all looked at me, then turned to him and yelled, “She says she’s your cousin.” I looked right at him with a little nodding of my head, and he replied, “Michelle? Of course she is, who didn’t know that?” Those pool kids never made fun of him again. Afterwards, Joe and I always called each other cousin.

When shy me spoke up, I remember my heart beating rapidly, my breath slowing down, and my ears throbbing, as I worked up the courage to speak my mind. I had thought about the moment and knew it could backfire, but I didn’t care anymore. Once I said my peace, I felt an enormous amount of happiness flood through my body like a burst of sunshine. I knew I had done the right thing.

As I grew older, when my friends would make fun of someone, I would not hesitate to say, “Hey, that’s my cousin!” They would turn to the kid, ask them if I was their cousin, and whoever it was always smiled and said, “Yes!” It stopped the taunters dead in their tracks, and stopped the taunting. Back then, I was known to have many cousins.

What did I get out of all of this? Well, for one, Bucky Beaver was fighting back with one little victory at a time, and the other thing I could see happening was a moment of shameful insight realized by those who did the taunting. Perhaps it was a lesson learned going forward in life for some of those kids, I will never know. What I do know is this, doing the right thing always outshines anything else. You can feel it light you up from the inside-out. How cool is that?
The sun shines on everyone photo courtesy of lee
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