• jon michael ogletree

Please Don't Stare

I have been incredibly blessed. I have an amazing family, a great group of friends, I’m in good health, and I have multiple successful careers. I’m quickly humbled by a few things though, and one of those is being stared at. Every single day I am stared at by kids and adults alike, and I feel confident that most if not all little people would say the same.

On one hand, I get it. Little people are a rare sight, and people are curious. There are multiple ways to encounter a rare sight with curiosity, each with a varying degree of offense. I’ve categorized them below:

1. The Chucklers and Filmers - These people literally are laughing, occasionally pointing, getting the attention of nearby people, or even worse, filming on their phone. The worst is when kids laugh/film, get the attention of their parents, who then begin laughing/filming. Rating - 5/5 Offended

2. The Googly-eyed - These people cannot believe their eyes. It’s as if little people came into existence by some sort of Pinocchio situation. One second, we’re on the boardgame “Candy Land”, and then next second, we’re putting gas in our car. They speak to us like we can grant them wishes or disappear right before their eyes. Rating – 4/5 Offended

3. The Gawkers - These people stare so intently that their eyes don’t blink and their mouth doesn’t shut. Rating - 3/5 Offended

4. The “Not so” Sly - These people think I can’t see them, but the moment I seemingly look away, they’re back at it. Rating - 2/5 Offended

5. The “One and Done” - These people have the rare ability to soak it all in with just one uncomfortable stare. They play it off, as if they didn’t. I then stare at them to see if they stare back, and they don’t. If you're one of these people, you're so close. Just wave or say hey, and then the initial stare won't be offensive. Rating - 1/5 Offended

6. Nice People - These people are sadly the rarest of all, but by far the most pleasant. They are just genuinely nice, forward with asking legitimate questions, and are respectful in every way. Rating - 0/5 Offended

The moral of the story is to just be nice to people you encounter. If you don’t think that we see you staring, snickering, pointing or filming, we do. This doesn’t just apply to encountering a little person. I would argue this list holds true when encountering any person with visible differences.

I’ve also come up with a list to handle being stared at:

1. The Death Stare – You can always stare back, and others can do this for you on your behalf. My mom, for instance, has absolutely mastered this technique and is not afraid to use it on a 3-year old.

2. The Filmer meets a Filmer – Just start filming them and talk to your phone as if you’re live on FaceBook.

3. The Educator – Taking this as an opportunity, you can address the person staring and educate them. This is the hardest response, but the best one.

None of us are perfect, and I myself stare at people, which is not a good thing either. We all have a lot to learn, and my hope is that through posts like this, we can share them and convert One and Dones, Not so Slys, Gawkers, Googly-eyeds, Chucklers and Filmers into genuinely polite people.

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