Someone recently posted this on Facebook: “don’t bother telling people your problems. 20% of them don’t care and the other 80% are glad you have them.” As usual my husband and I laughed it off. Clearly a joke, it also contained that little grain of truth that is essential for a joke to really take off. You don’t want to examine your reaction too closely for fear of what it will reveal.
My 12-year-old, however, didn’t find it funny at all. Sounding as appalled as only such an expressive child can, he cried, “But that’s 100%!”
Erm yes, we replied, that’s kind of the point of the joke. But he found it unacceptable that we could believe, even in a humorous context, that not a single person would care if we were in trouble. Even if one person in a hundred cared, that one person would carry more empathetic weightage than the other 99 people.
The Emperor, it would seem, is not wearing quite as many articles of clothing as he thinks. But maybe the one that he IS wearing covers the important bits.
It’s not how many people love you that matters, but whether the love of those who do is the sort that allows them to hurt when you hurt, and rejoice when you rejoice.