Often, what you see is not what it is.
I have been a “victim” more often than I care to remember.
There are a couple of situations which my wife and I still laugh about.
The first was when we took the LRT to town early this year. It was crowded and there was one vacant seat which I took while my wife continued standing. There were a couple of angry glares from other passengers but fortunately none of them confronted me.
Yes, in their eyes I was probably a useless and selfish good-for-nothing imbecile who let his wife “suffer” while I sat comfortably without a care.
At that time, I felt like making a sort of announcement to explain the situation but decided otherwise. Instead I was smiling away because I found it comical. This would have infuriated the others even more.
Here’s the explanation: I was having a bad back at that time and had trouble standing for long periods, what more in a moving train. I had been undergoing physiotherapy but progress was slow. I sat because I did not want to aggravate the back pain.
Of course, I felt lousy that my other half had to “sacrifice” and stand but that was my helpless situation then. Sorry, dear passengers – you saw what you saw, but you didn’t know what my wife and I knew.
The second incident was even more comical. This was nearly five years ago. No back pain then.
We went to the computer shop to collect her computer’s CPU which had been sent for repairs.
We paid up and were leaving the shop when the shop owner yelled at me. “Hey! What kind of a man are you? You’re walking like a boss and she’s carrying the CPU?”
My wife and I let off a laugh. This guy only saw what he saw, but he didn’t know what we knew.
I was recovering from a fractured arm and was not supposed to carry any stuff. Not that the CPU was that bulky but it was just too soon after surgery.
I showed the shop owner the surgery scar on my arm and told him about the fracture.
He then broke into a smile. “You are very lucky. I am not young anymore. Had it been anyone else, they would have punched you with no questions asked,” he told me.
Similar situations occur on social media where there is a tendency to jump to conclusions when we see certain images or videos.
We form opinions on what we see, not what we know.
Then we go on “attack” mode and someone innocent might become a victim because we didn’t know better.
The same goes for purveyors of fake news. Some news sounds so thrilling; it gets our heart beating faster. We are ever too ready to share it with others for whatever reason.
Sadly, that has become a trend, an annoying and sometimes dangerous one at that.
The ideal thing would be to make an effort to find out if what we are about to share is authentic. If that cannot be confirmed, then it’s best not to share it.
And that is even more agitating. Why get so pumped up about something you are unsure of and broadcast it on Facebook or Twitter?
Yes, it’s a free world. Freedom of speech some may say. Fair enough, but will we be responsible for what we post if something goes wrong? Is our conscience clear when promoting untruthful stuff?
The truth is (not always) out there.