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She is SO Cute!
What picture does the word “cute” evoke in your mind?
I see a baby opening it’s large, curious eyes, giggling an infectious laughter. I hear the squeal of tiny puppies, as they trip over one another in competition for their mother’s milk. I see a Toy-Story school set, which will one day be used by an excited toddler who is attending his first day of kindergarten. I feel the coat of a fluffy kitten, as it rubs it’s tiny head against my hand in search for affection.
Being a baby lover, I used to throw around this word all the time. I would squeal in delight every time I saw a baby in a park, and immediately make it giggle uncontrollably. I would wave to an infant in a stroller, and smile as it’s head jerked towards my direction. I would tickle my little sibling’s feet, loving it with she shrieked in delight. In every one of these circumstances, I would tell the baby as if it understood: “You are the cutest thing in the World!” And then I would turn over to whoever I was accompanied with, and pronounce: “Don’t you agree? Isn’t she just adorable?”
The word “cute” and “adorable” seemed to be the best-fitted adjective to tiny, beautiful creatures; namely bunnies, puppies, kittens, and infants.
What I never expected was for people to call their grandparents “cute” as well.
I suppose it started a few years ago. Any time we would watch a documentary in Social Studies, and an Elderly person would come up on screen to discuss certain historical matters. One of the students would predictably yell out: “Aaaaw! She is so cute!”
This happened multiple times. When a shrunken, soft-spoken old man would come as a substitute teacher, or whenever we saw one of them on the television, the classroom would be filled with a hushed: “aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaw!”
I never understood it. Why were human beings, above the age of seventy, being regarded as “adorable”? Why were children treating them as being inferior? What on Earth did that elderly person do to deserve such a degrading description?
The word “cute” is a flattering one—to an extent. Whether it be used for newborns, a new dress, or the school’s athlete, it always comes with affection. But it is a simple, casual affection, used for small talk and teenage conversations. This is most certainly not a proper adjective used for seniors!
In fact, it often comes with mockery. As I mentioned- when an old substitute comes to teach us- whispers envelope the room about her adorableness. But, she is also taken advantage of… for she is much too kind, tired with age, and hard of hearing. People giggle behind her back. They find her cute- (this is for certain.) But, because of the fact that her age has made her soft-spoken, passive, and forgetful, she is also mocked.
My Grandfather-(Saba, I call him) - is a man of countless virtues. He is the most selfless person I have ever come to know. Moreover, he is wise, humble, kind, compassionate, and peaceful. I love him very dearly, and always strive to see the best of him.
Age, however, has not been kind to him.
With the years, he has been cursed with multiple illnesses that only wither him to a weaker state. On top of the typical diseases that aging causes, Saba has Parkinson’s disease. This means that his hand is in constant shaking motion. With his uncontrollable hand twitches, he burns energy at a dangerously high rate and has no energy to take care of himself. He has quickly become unable to walk well, hunched over, and tired most of the time. It is very hard to admit this. I love to think of Saba as being strong and demanding self- respect.
I can just see in my mind- with much disgust- an image that proves the point of this essay: Saba slowly maneuvers his way across a street, small and quiet among the boisterous city of New York in which he lives. A group of teenage girls see him, and giggle uncontrollably. “He is adorable!” one whispers, and they all laugh. They see his belittled state- which is such a painful concept for our family- as being a humorous ordeal. They don’t know that he has lived for eighty seven years. They are not aware that not only has he faced the Great Depression, but that he was an injured veteran of World War two. They have no idea about how wise his sayings are, or about how much goodness he hopes onto the world.
No. They can only tell- based upon “obvious” physical appearances- that my Saba is cute. Hate is a strong word- and I don’t just throw it around- but I do hate whoever is foolish enough to regard a senior citizen in such a demeaning manner.
Many people like to hear the word cute. When a friend tells me my shirt is adorable, I smile in satisfaction. When a guy is told that all the girls consider him to be cute, he fills up with pride. My Saba would like to be called many things. But, I can say from the bottom of my heart, that,( to him) cute would be an insult.
It is a wrong, unappealing side of human nature that we should all be disgusted with. Children of America seem to have lost all respect for their elders. Or maybe it’s just the narcissism of teenagers, (I would know- I am one.) For, instead of respecting their wisdom and experience, we take advantage of their weakness and mock them.
The World is bad enough, with Suicide attacks occurring in the blink of an eye. It is malicious, with hate-crimes happening even in the most peaceful of cities. Our civilizations are built off of cruelty, when you think about it. But these little things, such as belittling poor human beings that no longer have the strength to defend themselves is disgusting, as well.
What has the World come to, that people so guiltlessly mock their elders? Since when were seniors degraded so much, as be called what once was a word for puppies? Where is the RESPECT?
I’ll tell you where: Respect is an extinct concept. It has vanished into nothingness.