#8 of 108 Ways to Livin’ the Moment: Don’t Get Offended. It’s Always Your Issue.
“Personal importance, or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about me.” ~ Don Miguel Ruiz
The Sanskrit word on this new t-shirt was supposed to mean “to play a musical instrument” because I believe yoga is playing the instrument that is your body.
An Indian man stopped me, while I was wearing the new Yeah Dave t-shirt in the Union Square area of New York City.
“Hey do you know what that Sanskrit word means?” he said in his Indian accent.
“Yes it means to play a musical instrument,” I told him.
“No it doesn’t. It means to play your musical instrument,” he stated firmly.
“So what’s the difference? Your instrument, an instrument…” I asked backing away from him as I was in a rush to get to yoga class.
The Indian man continued, “You are wearing a shirt that basically translates to mean ‘I masturbate.’ And if you really want to get specific with your Sanskrit, it actually says, ‘When I masturbate, God comes.’ ”
He continued, “I don’t think you intended to say that, but you should know it’s a terrible thing to say on a t-shirt.”
It was absolutely not my intention but rather the graphic designer’s awful and reckless translation of English to Sanskrit.
But the damage was done!
I quickly thought back through the past few months, remembering that I had sold approximately 90 of these shirts thereby mistakenly disseminating the message “I Masturbate” into the yoga world.
The people who bought these Yeah Dave t-shirts ranged from schoolteachers and coaches to executives and lawyers and even a priest.
God knows where they have worn these shirts.
And bless the souls of those who actually understand Sanskrit and must have covered their mouths in disgust upon seeing an upstanding mother of two, member of the country club, head of the PTA…leaving the ten a.m. Power Yoga class with her fancy mat bag, LuLu pants, and a t-shirt saying “I masturbate.”
After reaching out and apologizing to as many of the above mentioned lawyers, doctors, upstanding mothers, and schoolteachers as possible I looked up on the internet “damage control after offending people…”
Then I discovered that “Being offended” is #101 in the book Stuff White People Like:
As the book states, “…there are few things white people love more than being offended.”
Bill Maher recently wrote an an Op-Ed article in the NY Times:
“When did we get it in our heads that we have the right to never hear anything we don’t like?
In the last year, we’ve been shocked and appalled by the unbelievable insensitivity of Nike shoes, the Fighting Sioux, Hank Williams Jr., Cee Lo Green, Ashton Kutcher, Tracy Morgan, Don Imus, Kirk Cameron, Gilbert Gottfried, the Super Bowl halftime show and the ESPN guys who used the wrong cliché for Jeremy Lin after everyone else used all the others.
Who can keep up? I don’t want to live in a country where no one ever says anything that offends anyone. That’s why we have Canada. That’s not us.”
So I’m not going to feel so badly about my botched t-shirts. We all make mistakes.
There’s a choice we make in life. Either you get offended, or you have a sense of humor.
One is a lot healthier than the other. I’m not gonna say which one.
But I will say that the following is something you will never see in the eulogy of an old and contented soul:
“Katherine passed away yesterday at the age of 102. She lived a long, happy life. She ate lots of chocolate, exercised daily, and was easily offended.”
Editor: Kate Bartolotta