Do you remember this post? It was right before I went to go pick up my dear little Pistol. I was reflecting on all of the quirks that I used to scoff at before I became a doggy parent, and I noticed with my impending responsibility that I was becoming a neurotic parent myself: organic foods! Safety border-lining on insanity! Etc, etc. Apparently I was scoffing too much, for last night, I received this comment on that particular post:
"That is my family photo you took from my blog. The outfits were made by a family friend, so we wore them one Christmas. Brings back good memories for me. Make fun if you wish. I am not the person you described." --Jules--
Small world, huh? Either this lady is lying, and it really isn't her family, or it is her, and I'm wondering how she found my blog. I, of course, have no idea who she is or where her blog is. This photo was taken from a Google Search. I don't just wander on to people's blogs and steal their photos to make fun of them.
Second, a closer reading of the blog post never once returns the phrase, "Look at this family... they're neurotic parents." I tried to speak in general terms, a hypothetical situation that relates to everyone and no one. The photo served to kick-start my readers' imaginations.
Third, I'm very sorry. It's funny that this comment should come last night. Earlier in the day, I was walking my sister's little dog, thinking about how head-over-heels in love I am with that little boy. He's a Pekingese / Chihuahua mix. It's been said on several occasions before that he's a homely little dog. I just don't care. I have no concern at all for the way he looks. All I know is I love him to death. But if anyone says anything derrogatory about him, I'm crushed. It bruises me because it seems like they're not getting how beautiful and precious he is.
It was unintended, but I'm sure I did that to this lady. I'm sure she'd die for her kids, and for me to step in and use one of their more precious memories in such a calloused way is quite unlike the person I would like to be. Even if this wasn't the actual lady and was just someone out to cause a stir, it's still a good wake-up call. People cannot be oversimplified. That's half the reason for trouble in our world. People look at each other and assume they know each others story. Then, they pronounce judgment on each other quite unfairly.
So, what does this mean? I was writing about a hypothetical parent, so I must use very general photos. From here on out, it will only be royalty-free images or clip art. I will never use someone's personal or family photos again. It's not enough that I don't know them; they still exist somewhere. They're real people. If I want a photo to illustrate my discussion of a neurotic parents, I have to find a photo where people were paid to look like or are pretending to be neurotic parents. I'll be leaving the original photo up for two weeks or so, just so everyone has a chance to go back and look at it if they want -- to jog your memory of the post, and to pause a while, imagine the family in a positive way (how much they love and take care of each other) to make up for the way I used them earlier. Then, I'll put up the kind of general photo I spoke of earlier.
After receiving Jules' comment, I wanted to shrug it off, pass the blame to someone else, justify my actions and suppose her reactions were far too sensitive. That kind of deceptive self-preservation gets our society further away from where it needs to be. Thank you, Jules, for giving me the opportunity to learn the grace to admit fault when fault arises, and the opportunity to hone my habits of respect for others.