No. 301

In the days when Dr. Albert Einstein developed his theory on relativity I bet he never dreamt of all the different ways it would be applied to situations in everyday life. The dictionary gives a more complete definition of the word relativity, but for my purpose here let me just say that, “everything is relative” which is a catch-all term we use in our culture. Here is how Dr. Einstein described his theory in terms we call all understand. He said, “When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute...and it’s longer than any hour, that’s relativity.”
What brought this subject to my mind, and something that may be of interest to you, is the various labels we use to describe people who appear to have reduced mental capacity. In this respect everything is ‘relative’ because some people have a much higher IQ than others, which is to say the native equipment they were given at birth is superior to what others are given. Hopefully, this will cause you to think a little because we don’t question this statement when it comes to looks, as we are all familiar with the saying, “mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?”
Before I proceed let me make a quick distinction here. I’m not talking about people who are severely mentally retarded. This is truly a tragedy and these people need and deserve all the help we can give them. The people I am talking about are those who have a very light case of mental retardation but who can still function in society. They can hold down a job and do most of the things any of us can do but they are just a little off mentally, especially in the area of common sense.
Now, these questions please. Do you know people like this? If you do, how do you treat them? Do you have compassion and understanding or do you ridicule them? If you will answer these questions truthfully, this will tell you a lot about yourself. Earlier, I mentioned the labels that many of us pin on these people. There must be a jillion of these, because every time I would mention this to someone they would give me several more. You probably know some that I don’t have, but here are those that I have run across and while this applies to men and women, with your permission I would like to use the male gender.
The most popular is, “He is not playing with a full deck”, and close behind is “His elevator does not go all the way to the top.” Others are, “His front porch light is out, He is not the sharpest tool in the shed, He is two French fries shy a happy meal, He is as sharp as the leading edge of a bowling ball, He is a few saddle bags shy a camel’s load, His driveway does not go all the way to the house, The lights are on at His house but no one is home, He is two deviled eggs shy a picnic, He is not the brightest light on the Christmas tree, He is one brick shy a load, His tractor does not get any traction, He is not the sharpest knife in the drawer, and lastly, He is about a half-bubble off center.”
Here is the bottom line. While I try to be very careful in this regard, I am never-the-less guilty. One of the reasons we need to be careful when using a label like “he is not playing with a full deck” is because of the term, “everything is relative.” When we are talking about someone else, others may be talking about us. As I’ve thought about this I have come up with an idea that may keep us all out of trouble. Just visualize yourself in a burning building or in the water going down for the third time and you are desperate for help. When a person like this comes along, I doubt if we would say, “before you save me, are you about a half-bubble off center?” (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)