To the editor:

My family and I have been living in Massachusetts for 16 years. I teach high school math on the North Shore and my wife works in the health care industry. Our 16-year-old son attends high school here as well. As an extra job this summer, I decided to work at Fenway Park. I work as a greeter during Red Sox games and special events, such as the Zac Brown Band concert this past weekend. As one final note that is critical to this story, all three of us have dwarfism.

I have not allowed that one part of me (my short stature) to limit what I do, and as such, about 10 years ago, I decided to take full control of my own personal health, and I started to exercise on a regular basis, including taking up the sport of triathlon. I fell in love with multi-sport racing, becoming the first person with dwarfism to compete in an Ironman triathlon and have completed both the New York City Marathon (five times) and the Boston Marathon (six times).

As part of living in a world that is not made for people of short stature, I have had to deal with many obstacles that have been put in my way. Most of the obstacles are physical and my family and I have learned to deal with those as we understand that the world may not be able to be fully adjusted to every person of every shape and size. But we do the best we can. But when those obstacles are put in the way by people due to insensitivity or pure ignorance, I feel the need to face those directly.

I have been thoroughly enjoying my job at Fenway, until the Zac Brown Band concert on Sunday night. I am disappointed with the way they decided to end their concert. Did they really have to have a person with dwarfism come out and pretend to be security and “wrestle” someone? And it was only made worse when a woman asked me as I was walking to my locker after the concert, “Hey! Were you the guy on stage?” The gentleman and I look nothing alike, except for the fact that we both have dwarfism. It was a tasteless gag, and very cliche.

Now, before you start saying things like, “Why do we all have to be so PC?” or “Can’t people just take a joke?”, stop and think for a second. Take any other person with a different physical or developmental disability and put them in the same spot. Do you think the crowd would have enjoyed the same type of “humor?” What about making a joke about someone’s gender, sexual orientation or race? Would those have been accepted? Pardon the pun, but Zac Brown needs to “grow up.”

John Young

Salem

 

Recommended for you