Don’t Laugh at Me (a reprise)

The following was written about eight years ago, but sadly it seems to be in even more needed today. The words go straight to the heart, especially if you are a parent. We should remind ourselves that every child or even adult who is tormented, is someone’s child. Thinking of the Golden Rule, is this how you want your child treated?

Peter Yarrow, Noel (Paul) Stookey and Mary Travers made famous a song written by Steve Seskin and Allan Shamblin called “Don’t Laugh at Me.” Mark Wills, another artist has also recorded a variation along with Seskin, but it is the context and words that are embodied in Peter, Paul and Mary that makes the song resonate. When you live your lives speaking out for the disenfranchised, this song takes on far greater meaning than with any other artist, even the writers. Here is the entire song, courtesy of Peter, Paul and Mary with due thanks to Steve Seskin and Allan Shamblin. You can give it a listen after the lyrics.

I’m a little boy with glasses, the one they call the geek. A  little girl who never smiles ‘Cause I have got braces on my teeth. And I  know how it feels to cry myself to sleep.

I’m that kid on every playground who’s always chosen last. A single teenage mother tryin’ to overcome my past. You don’t have to be my friend but is it too much to ask?

Don’t laugh at me, don’t call me names. Don’t get your pleasure from my pain. In God’s eyes we’re all the same. Someday we’ll all  have perfect wings, don’t laugh at me.

I’m the beggar on the corner you’ve passed me on the street. And I wouldn’t be out here beggin’ if I had enough to eat. And don’t think I  don’t notice that our eyes never meet.

Don’t laugh at me, don’t call me names. Don’t get your pleasure from my pain. In God’s eyes we’re all the same. Someday we’ll all  have perfect wings, don’t laugh at me.

I’m fat, I’m thin I’m short, I’m tall I’m deaf, I’m  blind Hey, aren’t we all?

Don’t laugh at me, don’t call me names. Don’t get your pleasure from my pain. In God’s eyes we’re all the same. Someday we’ll all  have perfect wings, don’t laugh at me.

Well I’m fat, I’m thin I’m short, I’m tall I’m deaf, I’m blind. In a way we’re all.

I’m black, I’m white. And I am brown. I’m Jewish. I’m  Christian. And I’m a Muslim.

I’m gay. I’m lesbian. I’m American Indian. I’m very, very young. I’m quite aged.

I’m quite well fed. I’m very, very poor.

Don’t laugh at me, don’t call me names. Don’t get your pleasure from my pain. In God’s eyes we’re all the same Someday we’ll all  have perfect wings, don’t laugh at me.

My country ’tis of thee. oh, sweet land of liberty. It is of thee I that I sing.

We need to stop the bullying of others whether it be physical or mental torment. Whether it is in person or online as cyberbullying. Whether it is in the legislature or in the pulpit. But, especially the latter. One of my greatest pet peeves is bigotry from the pulpit and when bigotry is espoused by a spiritual advisor it is just like bullying. And, per Dan Savage who advises teenagers who are bullied because they are gay or lesbian, it does get better. Yet, it could be better still, as we have too many adults and hate groups (which is the extreme version) who try to divide, exclude and torment. Please heed these words and advocate by voice and example to treat all as we want to be treated.

Don’t laugh at me, don’t call me names. Don’t get your pleasure from my pain. In God’s eyes we’re all the same Someday we’ll all  have perfect wings, don’t laugh at me.

Peter, Paul & Mary – Don’t Laugh at Me – YouTube

20 thoughts on “Don’t Laugh at Me (a reprise)

      • We sure do Keith.
        i heard a story today that made me think that if someone would have intervened, her life would have been different. Stopping these things before they escalate would certainly help!💖

      • Cindy, thanks. To me, just knowing someone is on your side, means a whole lot. So, even if the intervention failed to stave off a bully, it would matter to the bullying target. The former president has been called many things, but one thing he has done most of his life is be a bully. And, it is shameful his followers do not see that as it is overt. Keith

  1. Sheila has told me to stop, but I still wander onto FaceBook and if I catch anyone doing this, they get a vitriolic taste of their own medicine.
    And having worked for many years in the UK Civil Service when I am in a bad mood I can be most surgical with my words and intentions.
    Not too proud of myself there, but if there is one thing which sets me off it s Intolerance, I am intolerant of it.

    • Roger, I understand why Sheila says to stop, but sometimes one needs to step in. See my note above to Cindy. Most bullies are covering up their own imperfections. And, hitting a bully in the nose (or with a retort) does not always work like in the movies, but it does make a difference to stand your ground. There is a British movie called “A Monster calls,” which is impactful when the boy, whose mother is dying, simply had enough of the bully’s antics. Keith

      • I’ve heard of this one Keith but never got around to watching it, even though people speak well of it.
        I’ve tried to limit my urges to ‘punch’ being more nuanced with simple statements.
        One of the rather unsettling reflection was when responding to trolls who leave comments on sites overseas aid charity sights that it was always the fault of the native population. In my more reasoned moments I would comment that one day Nature would come knocking at their door and they would hope for help.
        A year or so later…Covid comes to the Western World to remind us we are not immune to Nature….
        I thought I was being allegorical.

      • Roger, allegorical would have been nice. “A Monster Calls” is good. It stars Felicity Jones and Sigourney Weaver with Liam Neeson as the voice of the monster. Keith

  2. Excellent and timely post, my friend. It seems that today there is more intolerance, bullying, violence toward those who are seen as ‘different’ by some than at any time before in my memory. It saddens me to see that humans still have not learned to simply accept others as they are, to embrace our differences, to realize that we can learn from others rather than rejecting them. I despair that we are going in the wrong direction with groups that create violence against LGBT or Black people simply because they are different. Sigh.

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