The Passing of the Judgment

The passing of the Judgment.

By Lee Ann “Sunny” Brown

Photo By Craig Pennington via Flickr

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were being judged by someone but only realized this after the situation had passed? Oh, how many things come to your mind that you would have said if only you had realized what was happening! This happened to me, and I wasn’t even auditioning for a reality show!

I try my very best to be a good role model for my kids. We all do, right? Many times we draw upon our own experiences when we are sharing something with them or teaching them something. I have so many fond memories from my childhood and have always enjoyed recreating some of those same memories for my children. You can imagine my excitement when I walked into the quick stop with my kids after picking them up from school one day and saw that they had candy cigarettes for sale. I remember how much fun my brothers and cousins and I used to have buying them, and I hadn’t seen any since I was a kid. Trust me, the candy ones are much harder to find than the real ones. Anyway, I was so excited to show them all the different “brands,” and I bought them several boxes. We walked outside, and I couldn’t wait to show them the little red “light” on the tip, how we used to hold them between our fingers and how we would nibble them down to pretend it was going away.

So there we were, standing outside the store by the dumpster, having a bonding experience, sharing a fun childhood memory of mine and nibbling away on our candy cigarettes, when I heard a loud voice and looked up to see a woman that had been in the store, standing there with her two daughters. She was looking at us with a deep, disapproving scowl and was talking in a very angry voice about how disgusting smoking was and what a terrible thing it was for someone to do that to their children.

At first we all turned and looked around, thinking she was talking to someone else, but then realized she was talking to us. Still I couldn’t process it fast enough, and they stormed away, disappearing around the corner before I had a chance to say anything to defend us. My kids were looking at me with quizzical expressions on their faces, expecting me to say something that would explain this intrusion into our good time. All I could say was that she must be having a bad day. I was really thinking how badly she must have needed a cigarette.

Now, I have never smoked, but I grew up eating and playing with candy cigarettes. I am not campaigning for them one way or the other. I will leave that to politicians. I’m just saying that I was just minding my own business, having fun with my kids, not doing anything to bother anybody — nothing illegal — when someone decided to pass judgment on us and actually go out of their way to come into our space and make their unsolicited opinion known. And quite loudly, I might add.

This all came to mind recently, and I was thinking how important it might be to remember during this election year, especially as we near voting day. Maybe because we are all constantly being asked to weigh in with our opinions — text to vote for the next voice or dance talent, give the thumbs up or thumbs down on the article we read. We are all entitled to our opinions, and that’s worth remembering. It is not anyone’s right to project their opinions and beliefs or pass judgment onto someone else just because they don’t like something they see or hear – when no one is being hurt, of course. I am talking about common sense here.

Of course, I didn’t think of any of this to say at the time, probably for the best. It’s not always wise to speak out in the heat of the moment. But I have always wanted to let that woman know that my kids are practically grown now, and they don’t smoke, either, well…. not cigarettes! In fact, my kids didn’t like the taste of the candy cigarettes, and after I had them that day, I remembered that I didn’t really like the taste of them either. In fact, they said if the real cigarettes tasted anything like the candy ones, they didn’t want anything to do with them. Maybe a real deterrent would be for all drugs to have candy versions that taste like chalk. It’s a shame they’ve practically banned them.

So, trying to be a responsible adult and steer kids from the dangers of smoking, I always give out candy cigarettes for Halloween. I just hope I can find them in the store hidden somewhere behind the real ones.

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