During the course of our lives, we constantly use the word broken for inanimate objects. “My toaster is broken.” “I pulled the blinds shut but they were broken.” “I went to fry an egg but the yoke was broken.”
As fitting as it may be, we seldom use this word for people, even though every one of us personally knows someone who is. They themselves at some point of their lives came to the realization they’re broken also.
They’re sometimes referred to in a clinical sense as bipolar, dysfunctional, antisocial, clinically depressed, chemically dependent, and given a host of medications with names most could never pronounce, let alone be gifted enough to spell. In short, they are just plain broken.
You don’t need formal training to spot a broken person. They will always start a sentence with, “I” and use phrases such as, “I will start tomorrow,” knowing all too well they will repeat the same thing that caused them an enormous amount of grief time in and time out, sometimes for decades.
“I will stop tomorrow,” this one fits nicely for a life threatening vice. In all likelihood the doctor doesn’t know what he is talking about anyway, and the person nodding out next to you assured you they have been shooting junk with Johnny pump-water for years and they’re in the best of health.
“It was not my fault,” because whatever the situation may be someone else instigated it. If your truly broken, no one else even has to be involved because inventing people shows you are that much more broken.
“I have been like this since I was a kid” and ___, happened this last one is reserved for the truly professional broken person.
The list is as endless as time itself and is usually far more painful for those hearing it then the shattered shell of a person reciting it. Painful to those patient enough to listen to their stories of woe, and fables that evolve over time like creatures Darwin himself studied, animals that swam but over time managed to grow legs and slither out of the water. These fables do the same but after they evolve to perfection they slither from pursed lips and straight faces, hitting the air with a stench of disdain.
However the unbroken – if there is such a word – patiently listen to these tall tales. They add a convincing nod, complete with a sorrowed frown for effect and are usually able to finish the story, similar to groundhog day minus the happy ending.
So to all the broken people reading this. You know who you are. Some are going to have the gall to ask if I am referring to them. If you have to ask then it’s probably you. If you don’t ask it’s positively you but then we can laugh as though we’re implying it’s another.
We can set aside the things that are broken in us both for a fleeing moment, just long enough to cast judgment upon another. When we do as much, I guess I can state I am just as broken also. For what it’s worth, starting tomorrow I will try to be more understanding.