Volume > Issue > The Richness of the Mongoloid Experience

The Richness of the Mongoloid Experience

CRAZY LOVE

By Joanna Carroll | October 1984
Joanna Carroll, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, is on the Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Boston.

“RE-TARD!!!”

The kid’s face took me by surprise. It was red with rage, but beneath the rage I sensed an unmis­takable loathing. He was one of a carful of teenagers; he was the driver. He saw Michael and knew him instantly for what he is: a retard. Michael wears what he is in every feature of his chubby, Mongoloid face. The teenager recognized him — what makes Michael different — and reacted sharply.

Of course, it wasn’t as if the incident was un­provoked. In a sense, Michael was asking for it. Their car had been weaving down the long hill, honking exuberantly; they happened to lurch to a stop at a red light, next to us. And Michael, with his funny Mongoloid solicitousness, had kindly — if officiously — volunteered the insight that they ought to be going slower.

Michael, like so many of his kind, minds his own business — and everyone else’s too — with a patient, generous conviction that everyone is happier when some sort of social order prevails. Cre­ativity and individualism aren’t really his strong suit; he likes a predictable universe (in some ways he is very much like the rest of us). It’s kind of ironic, though, since Mongoloids can be so unpre­dictable themselves. Michael is certainly unpredictable.

But predictably enough, the teenagers took off like lightning when the light changed. As a farewell, one of the backseaters made a strenuous ef­fort to moon us out the rear side window and then they were gone. Michael turned to me in shock at the farewell rite.

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