Good grief, Patty, why are you so thin-skinned?
It’s a label I’ve carried with me for some time. Most of my life, actually. Well, at least since I was old enough to talk — and understand what the humans around me were saying when they conversed, too.
Chatty Patty spoke early, I’m told. Guess I’ve always had lots to say? Hee. I digress.
The descriptor landed on me before I was even a toddler. I have traced its origin back to the time my mother had me at the doctor’s office for my 9-month-old well-baby visit when, apparently, some well-meaning dad-to-be commented on “what a cute little guy”I was.
Now I’m not positive and would have to verify it with my folks, but I’m fairly certain my first sentence was uttered then and there, and it was straight outta “Peanuts,” y’all.
In other words, Lucy Van Pelt’s to be exact, I baby warbled: “I know when I’ve been insulted. I KNOW WHEN I’VE BEEN INSULTED!”
And ever since, I assumed the moniker that has stuck to me like a Kardashian to an Instagram account. Drumroll, please…
“Geez, Patty, do you have to be so SENSITIVE?”
There it is. The judgment call that occasionally conveys warm, fuzzy emotional adjectives such as kind, caring, soft-hearted, gentle, tender, compassionate, empathetic.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll wear any one of those badges loud and proud every day of the week, yo. But those are the sweetie pies lavishing me with their “best-case scenario” feels. And they are in the minority, you dig?
Mostly, I hear from the Leonard Maltin-type critics. You know, the ones Taylor Swift sings about in her song “Mean.”
Earthlings who equate being sensitive with the following not-so-kind tags: vulnerable, touchy,temperamental, moody, fragile, weak, broken, damaged, and my all-time least favorite: UNSTABLE.
Well, what do those blockheads know anyway?
Look, the way I see it, we all start out with a soft, pliable, infant shell. It gets stronger and stronger depending on how much affection, support and encouragement it receives — a sort of layering by love, if you will.
But over time, that tough coating has to fight off lots of storms to protect the heart and the rest of the body’s innards from hurtful hurls by the harsher humans prowling the third rock, you see. #Cretins
Yes, some of us DO have to change the channel with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals commercial showing freezing or battered dogs comes on.
Okay, there are those of us who cannot hear a tragic story on the news without welling up with sadness for those affected.
And sure, a few of us are unable to watch “Marley and Me” EVER AGAIN after… well, I’m not spoiler, but if you’ve seen it, you understand why PK refuses a second viewing.
So over time, yes, the layers peel away, and the most un-Grinch-like among us wind up with very thin skin.
Like literally. I mean, I can’t even carry plastic 14 grocery bags to the car anymore without making a black-and-blue roadmap of my forearms.
Just keep a tender-heart in mind before you start going all Rex Reed on ’em,OK?
‘Cause we’re a little weepy and all but if you push us far enough, we just might yank the football on ya, capisce?
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist who cries every time Clarence gets his wings on “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Hit up the old softie at www.patricia kimerer.com