What about Bob?

What about Bob? Has he seen this joke on his Facebook feed? Has he felt guilty? Felt Blame?

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This ‘joke’ recently popped up in my news feed on Face Book. I made a comment about how I hate this joke & gave some diabetes facts. Others commented ‘it’s just a joke,’ ‘I had pre-diabetes and lost weight and everything is fine..it was just a joke,’ and my friend posted ‘I didn’t mean to offend you’ –which I LOVE this friend even more for this reply. I know it was posted as humor–I just want to understand why a disease that is the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S. is funny.

So I considered the comments…am I Over Sensitive Sally? I did some unscientific research…went on Pinterest. If you type in the word Diabetes in search –some choices come up–one of them being ‘diabetes jokes’ –click on it–and this joke, and others like it pop up. So I typed in Cancer–no jokes–just encouraging pins, awareness pins, and the like. I typed in M.S., Lupus, M.D., arthritis, C.P.–not one joke to be found. So I went to Google and tried the same experiment and had the same results.

This particular ‘BOB’ joke was referred to in a comment to Frankie a few weeks out of the gate from being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. An adult said to him “to many candy bars like Bob.” This was said without malice, without bad intent–but the result was a 6 year old boy, trying to come to grips with having this disease and all it entails, now feeling guilty–feeling like he caused it. Frankie believed that because he went trick or treating, and ate some of the candy–he caused his diabetes. Tears, and talks, several conversations with his endocrinologist, and 4 years later–I am still not sure he is convinced getting this disease was not his fault.

That is why I hate this joke. I hate that it is acceptable to make jokes about a disease that can kill. I hate that the Diabetes community gets messages of ‘it’s just a joke’ that make us question if we are overly sensitive. I hate how common these jokes are, and how people living with diabetes are made to feel guilty about a disease they didn’t ask for, don’t want, and strive everyday to LIVE with.

After considering the constructive criticism of ‘it’s just a joke’ I have concluded that I am not ‘Over Sensitive Sally.’ 

This is why…

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This disease has tried to take my son from me…even though we are diligent with his care, administering his meds, and even though he doesn’t eat too many candy bars. 

So next time you see this ‘joke’ think of kids (and adults) with this disease–who may be picked on because of it, miss a lot of school/work and social activities because of it, are depressed and sad because of it, have died because of it. Think of the 26 million American’s who have diabetes–not because of the food they ate–but because their pancreas doesn’t work like yours. 

Next time you see this ‘joke’ and think it’s funny…ask yourself…

What about Bob?

 

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4 thoughts on “What about Bob?

  1. I commented on one of the posts with this “joke” too. One guy called me “an over sensationalizing bitch”. I guess when you’ve seen your child airlifted to another city with a hospital that has a PICU, you have a different perspective. I feel I have the right to over sensationalize when it is my child’s life AND when I am trying to educate people that diabetes is not cause by sugar and it is a daily fight to stay alive. Kudos to you for doing the same. For living with this and loving your child enough to set the record straight in a world where social media and THE media pass on false information and moronic statements everyday.

  2. Obviously the morons who continue to equate Type 1 diabetes with eating the wrong foods or not taking care of themselves will never “Get it”. The comments like “over sensationalizing bitch” just show the depths of these uneducated, uncaring lowlifes and what they are capable of. Try holding an 18 month old, almost lifeless in your arms because of the delays in diagnosing this horrible disease. Try going into the Pediatric ICU when they won’t allow the parents to go in, because of the horror they might see, but they couldn’t bring in enough security to keep grandpa out. Try living with the disease now for 6 more years, daily testing 8-10 times, shots 4-6 times “depending on the numbers”. These kids didn’t do anything wrong. They don’t deserve to be joked with, mocked as different or mad to feel guilty. We do. We sit back and ignore one of the most deadly diseases out there and don’t make any efforts to bring some cure about or fund the research needed to provide for help for all of the Type 1’s. As a society we should be ashamed of ourselves for our lack of understanding or our lack of support in every fashion to bring some relief to anyone afflicted with Type 1. So, make your jokes, laugh it up about someone doing something wrong, be ignorant of facts and too damn lazy to research the truth, but most of all…GO TO HELL!! You’re ignorant asses.

  3. The only reason people get truly upset about jokes like diabetes is because they’re affected by it immensely. Either they have it or someone extremely close to them has it. The problem is, those who get offended by these types of jokes tend to cherry pick the problem. There are way, way, WAY more AIDS jokes going on ALL THE LIVE LONG DAY (in fact, googling “diabetes jokes” yields around 6.1million hits, whereas googling “AIDS jokes” results in around 15million), a syndrome which is deadlier, nastier, harder to deal with (and don’t even try telling me it’s not), more costly both health wise and economic (government) wise, and is carried by an insane amount of people. Each year in America, around 70,000 people are dying from diabetes. In Africa, over 1.5MILLION people die each year from HIV/AIDS. But where are you vying for people to desist the AIDS joke making? Nowhere.

    A vast portion of my father’s side has diabetes. My grandmother, rest her soul, had diabetes, but she kept up with it, watch what she ate, took her pills, watched her blood sugar, and was absolutely fine. Sure this isn’t the case with some people, but diabetes certainly isn’t a “game ending” affliction. People can live perfectly healthy lives with Diabetes. In fact, finding a cure for diabetes is fairly realistic, and may even come in our lifetime! However, many doctors believe AIDS will never be cured because it binds to the DNA itself. It changes who we are! Heck, most diabetes cases are type II, which can sometimes GO AWAY with proper nutrition and exercise. AIDS doesn’t. If nothing else kills you, it will. No matter what.

    My main point is that if you’re going to get offended about diabetes jokes, you better be getting offended by AIDS jokes, HIV jokes, STD jokes, Parkinson’s jokes, etc. I’m not saying it’s right to make these jokes, and I truly do feel sorry for those with this heartbreaking illness, but just roll your eyes and walk away if someone does starting making jokes. Starting a website about diabetes jokes, while honorable and respectable, isn’t likely to change anything. Finally, saying something like “GO TO HELL!! You’re ignorant asses.” shows your true ignorance, because by getting seriously, ragingly offended by this and not all the other millions of jokes made at the expense of millions of people suffering from millions of other afflictions you’re proving that you’re biased. And we all know how rational someone is when they’re biased.

    • Hi John Doe,
      I hear you and I don’t like ‘jokes’ about any illness, disease, or disability. All of these jokes are hurtful.
      Regarding diabetes–diabetes is one big tree with lots of different branches–each branch a different ‘type.’
      Type 1, which my son has, is an autoimmune disease–not caused by food or drink, overindulgence, or lack of activity.
      It occurs when a bodies immune system attacks itself and shuts down insulin producing cells in the pancreas. Without insulin-you die, so people with type 1 are forever
      dependent on insulin infusions/injections. Many factors affect them–weather, activity, growth, hormones–and can cause life threatening emergencies–and death–even when following a medical management plan to a T.
      Type 2, the most heard about type, is genetic in nature–in the family history. You can manage type 2, in most cases, with diet and exercise, but sometimes you also need pills and/or insulin. It never goes away–even with the best diet and activity plan.
      There are other types besides these 2.
      I agree-swearing is not the greatest way to make a point—but it happens when it’s your baby fighting a disease.
      I would love an end to all jokes—and extend my sympathy and encouragement to all who face them–whatever their condition.
      We are all on this planet together–compassion goes a long way.
      Thanks for your comments–great perspective.

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