I am NOT Janet!

N.L. Stanford By N.L. Stanford, 5th May 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Relationships

I have, occasionally, been called by a name not my own and it caused me to wonder about misnaming and misjudging. So this piece came from those thoughts.

To judge or NOT to judge.

After the third time in a month being called "Janet", I finally told the person addressing me, "I am not Janet". They looked at me as though I didn't know what I was talking about. I offered to show my driver's license. They refused the offer and mumbled "sorry" and walked away. As I watched that woman leave, I wondered just one thing.. who in the world was Janet??

I have always heard it said that we each have a double somewhere. Mine must be named Janet, obviously, but who is she? Where does she live? What does she do for a living? What about her family? Her interests? Her hobbies? Are we alike in any other ways?

Perhaps if I had a gazillion dollars, I would hire a detective to find Janet, but I don't, so Janet will continue to live in my imagination...and in very short conversations at the store, or on the street with strangers who mistake me for this mysterious Janet.

On the other hand, perhaps I simply look like a "Janet" to these people. That thought conjures up more questions. What, exactly, does a "Janet" look like? For that matter, what does a "Bob" look like? or a "Toby" or a "Patricia" or a "Linda"? That causes my mind to meander off to the idea that we are all stuck in stereotypes of other people's creation. If you hear someone is called "Bubba", you have a specific picture in your head immediately. If you hear someone called "Elizabeth" or "Tiffany" or even "Buffy", you immediately develop a picture in your mind of that person. Why is that? In all of our evolutionary development, why have our so-called advanced brains never come to realize that the title does not describe or explain the contents? The wrapping in no way describes the gift. The cover does not give away the entire plot.

We, as humans, should have by this time, developed to a point where we take the time to know someone before we judge, but we don't. We are all guilty. We hear someone share a sad or horrible story about someone else and we immediately develop a prejudice in some way toward that third person, without ever speaking with that person or learning their side of the story. We all do it. You would think that once we realize what we are doing, we would stop and not do so again, but it doesn't work that way.

It seems to be the human norm to judge. After a particularly ugly court appearance, I was saddened and angered to see that an actual judge-one sitting on the bench-was not immune to this behavior himself. He brought his own prejudices into the courtroom and used it in an unfair decision. It was proof that no matter how advanced we believe ourselves, no matter how objective we THINK we can be, it is never so. We are flawed human beings with flawed opinions and ideas. It will ever be so..... and I am STILL not Janet.

Tags

Judgement, Names, Tolerance

Meet the author

author avatar N.L. Stanford
I have, for the most part, been a fiction writer, but have also enjoyed writing articles that have concentrated on the human condition and how I can share my observations and what I have learned.

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