Saturday, August 07, 2010

Joel Stein is an Attention-Seeking Psycho

No. Not really.

I wrote a response to his column last year in which he portrayed parents of kids with food allergies as "yuppies" who invented nut allergies as a way to "feel special" about themselves. You know, for the attention.

Now I have learned that Mr. Stein's little boy has been diagnosed with food allergies. His son is only 15 months old. A baby. Another child with a life-threatening allergy to food.

I've been thinking about this for a few days now, trying to craft my response, remembering how we felt after Ryan's big reaction. I have nothing but sympathy for what Mr. Stein and his wife must be feeling right now.

Because it's just not funny at all. Last year I wrote my response to Stein's column the day after we'd had a scare with Ryan (who didn't have a reaction at all, but we all thought he was having one at first). We were driving home from a restaurant when Ryan said:

Mom, Dad. I'm itchy all over. Everywhere in my body.

I still get chills reading that, remembering those awful minutes before we determined that he was not, in fact, having a reaction. I ended the rant post with:

So, I guess that's it--it's not funny at all to know that your kid could die on the way home from a restaurant. Unless I'm actually a freak who is enjoying all of this attention, in which case it's obviously super great fun to ride this wave of Mass Hysteria to Spotlight Island, just to add a little spice to my boring life.

I know these types of articles are written all the time (I've got my Google Search set to "peanut allergy") and usually I choose to ignore the foolishness. But every once in a while, it all really irks me. What an idiot. Sigh.

And now I can go on with our family life in a constructive way, having got that out of my system. Maybe someone who thinks they agree with this guy will see this post and rethink their position on the matter. It's the best I can do for now. Thanks for listening.

I wanted others to see my response and maybe rethink their position a little. Mr. Stein sure has. His mea culpa can be found at TIME Magazine (need a subscription to read the whole thing).

1 comment:

mtnrunner2 said...

I'm no saint, and have put my foot in my mouth more times than I can count, but it's never occurred to me to belittle someone's food allergy -- which by definition we don't have any control over.

Then again, while growing up our neighbor's kids had allergies, my cousin had them, and the children of some current friends do. I'm sure that helps to lend realism.

I've enjoyed Stein's writing over the years, but you're always on thin ice when you deal with things that are not chosen. Bad choices can be ridiculous, but things that just happen to you? I think you’re asking for trouble.