If you’re the kind of person who gets offended over a sweater that’s being sold at Target, I can’t rightly know what to say. Thankfully, a wounded veteran did, and his brilliant (if slightly vulgar) words are a reminder of why snowflakes desperately need perspective.
The kerfuffle over the sweater began during the 2015 Christmas season. As Target shoppers are probably aware of, the chain sells a lot of kitchy holiday sweaters with quasi-humorous slogans on them during the festive months. One of them, however, triggered the left.
It said “OCD: Obsessive Christmas Disorder.”
You can probably guess what happened next on Twitter:
— matteson (@mattesonquint) October 25, 2015
Iraq War vet Derek Weida, who lost a leg from injuries suffered in the conflict, decided to put complainers in their place. He had a perfect — if slightly vulgar — response to the anger:
“Shut up, p****. You’ll be fine,” the Instagram caption read. Weida took the picture next to a gingerbread man with a leg snapped off, proving he could take it as well. And, as Weida’s personal website pointed out, he’s been through a lot more than most snowflakes ever will be.
“On June 23, 2007, I was shot side-to-side through the right knee during a nighttime house raid in the Shaab Ur district of Baghdad,” Weida’s website read, according to America Now.
“I fought hard through 18 months of surgeries and physical therapy to rehab my knee so I could return to my unit. Sometimes things are just out of our control and I was medically retired from the Army in June 2009. I spent 2008-2010 angry, depressed, drunk, and suicidal. All of my dreams and aspirations revolved around being a soldier and I felt like since that part of my life was over, my life was over in general. In December 2011 I had my leg amputated, something I had fought to have done since 2007. Once I was freed from the shackles of my busted up leg I began to thrive.”
The veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division is now a bodybuilder and a prominent social media personality.
Now, I haven’t been through anything like what Weida has seen. However, I’m not coming at this from a positionality of ableist privilege, as the left might say. I’ve had relatively severe generalized anxiety disorder and panic attacks since my teens, two fun little conditions that have landed me in urgent care and/or the emergency room on more than a few occasions.
Would I be offended if Target made a Christmas sweater about GAD or panic attacks? Heck no. In fact, I’d encourage it, although the best I can come up with at the moment is something involving a Christmas tree and “pine-ic attacks.” (The idea is available for just a small royalty fee, Target! Hit me up if you guys are interested, although I hear you’re kind of short of money these days.)
Humor is part of how people deal with these sorts of things. Getting offended over a shirt that has a little fun with obsessive-compulsive disorder is absolutely ridiculous, and Derek Weida is proof. If he can laugh at himself, so can you.
Thankfully, Target made the right call on this one (for once). “We never want to disappoint any of our guests and apologize for any discomfort,” a company spokeswoman said. “At this time, we have no plans to remove this item from our assortment.”
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H/T World of Wonder