Recently, in my area, a pair of young adults had to make a public apology.
They had been blasted online after going to a Halloween party dressed as two infamous figures of our town. One, a mentally delayed man, the other a homeless, drug addicted female. Everyone agrees this costume choice was in poor taste, including the couple. It’s all concise. Shame, shame, shame.
Here’s my unpopular POV:
It was kinda funny. In a terrible, horrible, cards agaisnt humanity, dead babies and Hitler tone, it was a bit funny. Yes, poor taste, it was over the line, but it was still kinda funny.
Before you start typing me angry emails let me at least explain why.
I grew up on welfare in downtown Toronto, and I was less then “well off”. I watched metal illness and drug additctions cripple my family. I went threw puberty, well pan-handling for drug money and stealing food daily to get by. I hung out with homeless youth and spent many dangerous nights outside alone and high out of my mind, I was young, fucked up, female and very venerable.
But I wasn’t a household name in my community, and neither were my homeless youth and adult peers. We were overlooked and ignored. No one cared what our backstories were. We weren’t infamous, we were invisible.
See, to me what makes this funny is that here in Belleville Ontario Canada, we have two people on the fringes of society, in need, ( most of the time) alone, venerable and 90% of people in our town know them by (nick) name.
Not only do most people know them, but we speak fable like stories of the fall from grace the female known as (Slashed)Pam had. Most people know someone who is related to her, because her family has long standing roots in our society. Anyone who has spent any time in the highly sought after, beautiful East Hill neighbourhood, has come across (Pylon)Paul, as he is always in (his) uniform of reflector construction gear, friendly and inviting he is mentally delayed and intimidatingly large, but commonly regarded as harmless,
he is constantly roaming the neighbourhood, alone.
So, what’s so funny about people dressing up as theses two? These are known people in need. Known, and spoken about, and seen, and yet nothing. People don’t ignore them and go in with their lives, Nope, they acknowledge them and don’t help.
That’s why the costumes funny.
Oh, I’m not laughing at Pam and Paul, goodness no, I’m laughing at the sad state of my town. Stop accepting and waving the drug addicted girl who picks scabs on her track marks in front of the bank steps. That’s not OK! It’s not right that I have to explain to my kids why the lady is bleeding and crying and laughing all at the same time.
We need to have a conversation about what we can do to fill up the time these people have with positive action. We need to change what we think of them and thier ability. As a community we need to rally and help, not stand and stare.