Tolerance. Tolerance is a really neat word. I read a series of books by a man who survived the bombing of Hiroshima, the series of books being comic books. "Barefoot Gen: a Cartoon Story of Life Before/During/After the Bomb." Funny, I read all these with a low grade horror sunk deep in my abdomen... like I was somehow pregnant with the repulsion for war, and human tyranny in general. I made it through these graphic books, and I thought it taught me a lesson. It did, but I wonder if it was enough.

I am a slender girl. No arguments there. My ex-boyfriend and I used to joke often about each other being fat, it's a condition we were both rather disgusted by... and kind of scared of. Maintaining a reasonable degree of control over one's body is important... most people would agree.

So what does this have to do with tolerance?

One time while Scott & I were walking into Meijer's to pick up photos, we saw an obese woman in a red shirt. I leaned over and snicker whispered to Scott, "Would you still love me if I looked like that?" He replied that he would. Then he nodded toward an obese woman in a green shirt. "You can't look like that, though." I looked up, and the woman's face and arms were absolutely covered in thick scars that were obviously the product of severe burns. We were both fell silent as we walked into the store. Half of me wanted to scream at him for being so callous, how could he be so mean... and then I realized that I was just as much of a jerk. I don't think he'd seen her face when he made the remark.

(I asked him later, and he hadn't.)

That's what stopped me. That and the realization that I was a huge jerk.

I guess that's what this has to do with tolerance. People (like me) can look at news stories and feel terrible for people afflicted with the horror of burns, or leprosy, or homelessness... but on the street, are you the same person as when you sit at and gasp at the evils of society? Or are you the jerk who walks by like it's not affecting you? I guess I discovered who I was, and for the past 4 years now, I've been trying to change that. Some things should not be tolerated.