What is common to all of the following:
- A chocolate bar stolen from an office desk.
- A bunch of sticky notes covering an entire office PC monitor.
- A pile of hole puncher residues left on an office desk.
Me, I’m bothered thinking what it is exactly that I have done to earn this honor. No, I did not commit any of the above: I looked at that chocolate bar long and hard, the way I look at any piece of chocolate, but I have this tendency not to take things that aren’t mine away; I’m too much of a greenie to waste sticky papers on a practical joke; and as the father of a three year old whose mess I need to clean after several times a day I consider creating a mess for others a crime worthy of capital punishment.
So, why was I accused of the above?
I could invoke the racial card and I could invoke the cultural card. I could also invoke the religious card: enough people around me either consider me the resident Jew or know me for an atheist, and let’s face it – the majority are believers, and the majority doesn’t like to see others criticizing belief. It makes them think they might be riding the wrong horse, and that makes them uncomfortable.
I won’t invoke any of these specific cards, though. I think the correct answer is some sort of a mix of all of the above and then some. I think the correct answer is simply that I stand out amongst the crowd: I look different, I behave different, but most importantly – I’m a very opinionated person who does not hesitate to state his opinions loudly and clearly.
The problem here is that through being different and through not letting myself fade into the background I attract attention. I have been created myself the image of a troublemaker when, in my honest opinion, I am anything but.
That saddens me: it makes me think [again] that I might be working at the wrong place. It saddens me even more to see history repeating: from Joan of Arc to Nelson Mandela, those that stand out tend to pay a price for doing so. I do not pretend to be anything like these two, but more than before this firsthand experience of mine certainly makes me appreciate what people have been through in the ongoing struggle to make the world a better place, surrounded as they were/are by a generally indifferent public.
Image by @superamit, Creative Commons license