I’m accustomed to being the odd one out. I didn’t have any friends until third grade, of course that led to me being bullied for years straight, I’m an artist among engineers, and I seem to fit into the 1% for traits ranging from sexuality to types of knowledge.
As a result, I tend to make myself the butt end of most of my jokes. I’ve accepted that I very rarely fit in with my peers so I may as well do the legwork for them and laugh at myself. This never really felt wrong to me until a middle-aged receptionist called me out for it.
She noticed that I spoke very carefully as if trying not to put too much strain on my jaw so she asked when I’d be unwired. In reality, I’ve been unwired for 7 weeks now, but I got clearance to stop wearing rubber bands — and chew solid food — last Tuesday. Therefore, my jaw is very stiff and having an uncompromising range of motion feels very awkward to me. I pointed this out to her then laughed saying it probably looks awkward but it is what it is.
She took a moment to laugh at her misunderstanding before insisting that I didn’t look awkward. She repeated the statement for emphasis leaving me wondering if my self-deprecating jokes are as harmless as they seem. Would the receptionist have spoken up if my joke didn’t bother her? If it bothered her, shouldn’t it bother me?