Happy Days Question #5 - Being Different

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Happy Days Question #5 - Being Different

Unread postby Liz » Fri Dec 08, 2006 10:12 am

Pg. 23. “My kids kissed me—just barely--on the cheek, the way you kiss old people.”

What do you think this says about how people view the paths people take in their lives, the image they portray and how people treat them differently if they stray from the norm?
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Re: Happy Days Question #5 - Being Different

Unread postby Depputante » Fri Dec 08, 2006 11:41 am

Liz wrote:Pg. 23. “My kids kissed me—just barely--on the cheek, the way you kiss old people.”

What do you think this says about how people view the paths people take in their lives, the image they portray and how people treat them differently if they stray from the norm?


Morning Mates :capnjack: !

I'm sure glad today's question is easier, with very little rethinking necessary. Whew!

1) How people view the paths people take in their lives.
Society is quite conservative and a wee bit too paranoid, and judgemental about life in general. I can often see people everyday judging others, and then turning around and calling themselves better. Very hypocritical.

Another view I have is that they are so passive and compliant to everything around them, they get stressed out, and need to strive to maintain their own sense of self worth.

What I have found though, it that if you begin happy, you find other happy people. It takes a great deal of strength to maintain one's own happiness though.

2) The image they portray.
This too influences society. It shouldn't. Here we have Antoine minding his own business, and society freaks out. In th book, they are kids, but here, the mom needs to step up to the plate, and guide the kids through Antoinne's decision.

What I think society needs to do is step up and ask more questions. Like, 'Hey man, what's up?' 'Why are you here, doing this?' Only then will they begin to find human compassion and understanding.

3) How people treat them differently if they stray from the norm.
People step back , turn around and walk away if they see something different from the norm.

What I think people really need to do is assess the situation. If it's safe, and not illegal, then they need to step up, and be honest with themselves, find their own self confidence, and then approach the situation with (what word fits?) care and tenderness. Treating others how they want to be treated, I suppose.[/u]
“The scariest enemy is from within. Allowing yourself to be limited and conform to what you're expected to conform to.”~JD

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Unread postby Parlez » Fri Dec 08, 2006 12:01 pm

It's too early in Colorado (and such a high altitude) to think too
deeply just yet, but I LUV your thoughts, Depputante, and wanted to say so right away.
The quote also reminds me of how fear-driven we are...about anything that's perceived
to be 'different' and particularly about aging and dying. Antoine says the kids kiss him
'like you do old people', and that remark is very telling to me. We've all done it -
the obligatory kiss that's not tooo close and means next to nothing, and we withdraw asap!
It's amazing, really, how we've come to think of age and death as contagious...as if...!!

Well, I'll warm up to this topic later....
Cheers!
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Dec 08, 2006 12:31 pm

Parlez, people fear what they don't understand and therefore try to ignore it or turn it into something like themselves. It takes a measure of courage to step up and try to understand someone who is different than you or who perceives the world in a different way. People are definitely too judgemental, but that's easier than trying to expand your horizons or take the time to find a common human denominator with someone who looks or thinks differently than you.

Depputante, it is definitely takes a great deal of strength to maintain one's happiness around what a friend of mine calls "the joy zappers", people who always seem to try and bring you down. I believe being happy with yourself and accepting yourself is the first step!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Happy Days Question #5 - Being Different

Unread postby Liz » Fri Dec 08, 2006 1:06 pm

Depputante wrote: What I think society needs to do is step up and ask more questions. Like, 'Hey man, what's up?' 'Why are you here, doing this?' Only then will they begin to find human compassion and understanding.


That is an interesting idea, Depputante. But as DITHOT said, it is easier and takes less time to be judgmental. I personally have become more open-minded as I have become older. I am surprised at that because I thought I would be more set in my ways. I think it depends on the individual, though.

Very well thought out answers for so early in the morning, Depputante.

And I agree with Parlez that many of us avoid the elderly. I never thought of it as contagious before, but that could be it. I think it may depend on your age also. As I get older I can relate much better to the elderly. I'm not that far away from it now. :-/ When I was a kid and a teenager I tried to stay clear of retirement homes.
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Unread postby Depputante » Fri Dec 08, 2006 1:30 pm

Well, I've only really began to start thinking this way in the past oh...5 years. Once it started, it ballooned. I have my own downers too everyday, but I'm becoming alot more stubborn about finding the possitive in people, and maintaining the possitive in myself.

Teenagers in particular are a group I've recently become interested in. Why do punks dress punk, why to kids wear dreadlocks etc. (my kids are still only 7 and 11).
I once had a short conversation with an old person, I was supporting the teenagers. I said something like...well, how many choices (hobbies) are there for kids to have stress outlets? ...Sports, Theatre, Music. And the rest are illegal. So give a kid a break and don't judge a kid because they're enjoying their music, and have found a stress releaser. At least it's legal, and if they don't harm others or themselves. You could see their light turning on. They'd never thought that way before.

I like to beleive I'm OK with the teenagers doing that. The only thing I try to mention to them, is that society may give you a hard time about it, and to make sure they think about their future too. If they're confident in that, then who am I to judge them? It should be fine with me too. And I applaud their inner strength of self confidence, or survival or what ever it is that makes them who they are.

Not sure what I'll say to my own kids when they are in highschool though. I probalby won't be able to say much about their hobbies, except to warn them about the cause/effect relationship with society judging them, and how they've only got one body so they need to take care of it.

We have a punk teenager down our hall. But you know, if you take a good look at her, she goes to/from school nicely, doesn't 'hang out' in the streets, gets decent grades, doesn't disrupt anyone. So I gave her a break, let her be our sitter. Two of my kids are ok with that, as I explained that that's what SHE does. The third goes a bit wonky, and wants anything that is 'cool'. But my point is the sitter. She's a sweet kid who just uses music as a stress releiver because she's got a crappy family. She's keeping herself together as good as she can. Kudos to her for that. It ain't easy. (She didn't like my idea about not harming her own body though, as she said she gets pretty banged up at concerts. But hey, we have an OK and respectful relationship.) So far so good.
Last edited by Depputante on Fri Dec 08, 2006 1:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby Liz » Fri Dec 08, 2006 1:53 pm

Depputante, I have found that I am happier when I try to find the positives in people. Luckily it has become a habit. What I need to do is look at things more positively on a daily basis and turn that into a habit.

As far as kids, it seems when they are young they are much more work. But when they are teenagers they cause much more stress. Good luck.
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Unread postby Parlez » Fri Dec 08, 2006 2:00 pm

This is a little off topic, but it goes with your story about the
teenager, Depputante. When my oldest daughter was a teenager she became extremely conservative..it drove me nuts! Then a friend said she thought it was because we Boomers were sooo outrageous as a young generation and we're sooo accepting of weirdness (piercing? - yea!, blue hair? - go for it!)
the only way our kids could possibly rebel would be to go conservative!!
:lol:
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Dec 08, 2006 2:01 pm

The old saying "Don't judge a book by it's cover" comes to mind here. Sadly, most of society has been conditioned to react a certain way to certain stereotypes instead of looking beyond the outside to what might be worth discovering on the inside.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby gemini » Fri Dec 08, 2006 2:53 pm

How people treat them differently if they stray from the norm?

I think it depends on how their difference effects them.

Antionne's wife realized she married someone incapable of love. I am sure she wondered if he was indifferent to her and their children or if he was actually sick? From the way they treat him now I think she decided he was ill and the children follow suit.

The staff in the hospital seem to think he is odd or slow and let him live the life he wants. The outside people who dont know him well enough and think him normal just assume he is the gardener.

Strangely enough, it is only the elderly that accept him as he really is and treat him like anyone else in the home.
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Unread postby Liz » Fri Dec 08, 2006 3:12 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:The old saying "Don't judge a book by it's cover" comes to mind here. Sadly, most of society has been conditioned to react a certain way to certain stereotypes instead of looking beyond the outside to what might be worth discovering on the inside.


I’m suddenly reminded here of myself in the 80’s. I had a high profile position in a large company—by high profile I don’t mean prestigious, but public. All levels of employees had to interact with me. My daily attire did not fit the image of my particular position. My dress and my hair were very avant garde when others in equivalent positions were wearing business suits. But there was no dress code, and I carried out my job quite well. Thus they had no reason to let me go. I’m sure that many had a certain image of me at first. But I think that their having to deal with me on an interpersonal level on a day to day basis was able to soften some of their prejudices.
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Unread postby Betty Sue » Fri Dec 08, 2006 3:35 pm

Love all of your perceptive answers and stories! :cool: This could be a psychology class! The only thing I want to add is that I wouldn't expect very enthusiastic kisses from my kids if no interest or concern had ever been shown for them! In fact, I'd expect them to be a bit repulsed. Maybe they should understand that he's just different, but they're just kids, and that's Daddy! It would take time (and maybe therapy!) to learn to accept him, I would think.
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Unread postby gemini » Fri Dec 08, 2006 3:51 pm

Ok, Well I first answered on impulse from my opinions in the book. As you all are thinking a little deeper about society in general I decided to give it another stab. I have always felt "different" and consequently tried to accept others who were different. It's a little of that sticking up for the underdog thing. When I was younger I suffered from extreme shyness and became a little like Antionne, a watcher. As I grew older I developed more confidence and became a little more assertive but because of this I am extra sensitive to others. Like many of you have mentioned, I tried to be more accepting of people who did not fit the mold. In doing so, you realize that they are not so different after all, same fears, goals, and life expectancies as everyone else. I do have a problem with some parts of society that try to define themselves in groups. I think it is this type of thinking that causes some people to start thinking they have more worth than others and they become less tolerant of any differences.

Just to go back and add a thought to my opinion of the book that the elderly in the home accepted Antionne easier than the outsiders. I think some elderly in real life become more set in their ways and some more tolerant. It depends I guess on their life experiences. I would like to think that as time goes on we are all more tolerant but I am not so sure.
Last edited by gemini on Sat Dec 09, 2006 12:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby fansmom » Fri Dec 08, 2006 4:01 pm

Betty Sue wrote:Love all of your perceptive answers and stories! :cool: This could be a psychology class! The only thing I want to add is that I wouldn't expect very enthusiastic kisses from my kids if no interest or concern had ever been shown for them! In fact, I'd expect them to be a bit repulsed. Maybe they should understand that he's just different, but they're just kids, and that's Daddy! It would take time (and maybe therapy!) to learn to accept him, I would think.
That was my take on it as well, Betty Sue. I don't think they're treating him like an old person because he's choosing to live differently; I think they're treating him coldly because he's never been warm and cuddly to them.

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Unread postby Parlez » Fri Dec 08, 2006 4:11 pm

Yes, well, therapy would do this family a world of good!!!
But I like the point about stereotypes and judging based upon
assumptions - we do too much of that. And we're very hesitant to really explore other possibilities. If things don't fit our basic template of how things should be, we feel threatened and unsafe...and that sets up a train wreck of judgements, so to speak.
I think that's what Antoine is trying to avoid or to get beyond, although he, himself, does a fair amount of judging when it comes to the residents of Happy Days. However, it's still a place out of time (in more ways than one!) where perhaps he hopes to find something else besides the usual assumptions and judgements he's run
up against in 'regular' society.
I find it a significant point that the elders were the only ones who truly accepted him and didn't seem to expect anything from him. So...I wonder, does acceptance mean
not having any expectations??
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