“It is very important to carefully observe the things we see before we judge. Things aren’t always as they appear.” – Ellen J. Barrier
I don’t actually remember how exactly old I was at time when I discovered a long used phrase I had no idea existed. I just know my dad picked me up from elementary school so we could make an evening barbershop trip. Between finishing my homework and waiting for my turn to get my ears lowered, a smaller gentleman wearing glasses and speaking with a voice of an English professor entered the shop. Once again, my memory eludes as to how my dad and I got into a conversation with this individual who happened to be the only Caucasian I had ever seen enter our barbershop up to that point.
What I do recall as clear as days is our talk about the video game “Mortal Kombat” (more than likely making me around eight to nine years old at that time). I, somehow, intelligently explained how I felt fake violence didn’t make kids dangerous or thirst to rip someone’s heart out. My belief was just because you played and enjoyed games like “Mortal Kombat” or “Doom” didn’t make you a bad person. To emphasize my point, I said how people being called a nerd because they wore glasses didn’t necessarily make them a nerd. The conversation immediately halted with my fellow debater noticeably realizing I felt he was potentially a nerd. He informed me that he was actually a top tier amateur wrestler in high school, not some stereotypical geek shown on my favorite shows at the time (such as Billy from “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers). Being the wrestling fan that I was (and still am for both professional and amateur styles), my opinion of this man changed.
I felt like a goof for judging someone by their physical appearance and my skewed perception. Yet, as the years moved on, I realized more and more that I learned a valuable lesson from my blunt assumptions – don’t judge a book by its’ cover. In a society focused on outward appearances, the truth of whom or what a person is goes beyond what the eyes initially sees. To ignore our perceptions and get to know people for who they are will reveal how many of us have things in common that could create moments and friendships that will last a lifetime.