So, three people with diabetes walk into a bar and deal with a whopping case of diabetes ignorance. Nope, this is not a joke, but it sure sounds like one!
Despite a not-so-funny comment being made at the bar we visited, a recent Saturday evening was filled with laughter and good conversation as I caught up with my friends, Greg and Jesse. I met Greg three years ago at the first College Diabetes Network (CDN) student retreat in Bridgton, Maine. Since then, we’ve stayed in touch thanks to social media, but our busy schedules make it tough to hang out often. This year, I met Jesse at the very same retreat, and it was there that I got reacquainted with Greg. The three of us hit it off at the retreat and agreed to get together later in the summer.
And so we did! After catching a matinee showing of Finding Dory (a gem of a film made funnier by the three of us cracking up intermittently), we decided to get some food and poke around downtown. This led us to the bar where we encountered a classic case of diabetes ignorance.
Before I jump right into my anecdote, let me first establish the scene: It was early in the evening. The bar was on the smaller side, so it was nearly full when we arrived. The three of us perched on stools at the end of the bar, and to my immediate left was a couple in their mid-thirties. The couple (at least, the male counterpart) plays a central role in my ensuing story.
When it came time to order some drinks, Jesse asked the bartender whether it was possible for her to create a lower-sugar cocktail. He mentioned his diabetes to the bartender to help her understand why it was an important question. She was happy to accommodate his request, and soon we three had our drinks in hand. We were immersed in our conversation when a plate being delivered to the couple next to us caught our attentions. It was a leviathan of a confectionary creation: A gooey s’mores dessert that probably could have served a family of four.
One of us commented aloud that the dish looked delicious. The man and the woman nodded in tacit agreement as they chowed down. Then the man looked up at us and said something along the lines of, “Yeah, this dish could give me diabetes.”
…and that’s when I sucker-punched him in his face. Nah, just kidding! Instead, I sat there in a fleeting, stony-faced silence as I contemplated whether or not I should bother correcting him. I glanced sideways at Jesse and Greg to see their reactions, and when we made eye contact, we laughed awkwardly and sort of shrugged it off.
Should we have said something? Maybe…but there’s a time and place for teaching moments, and a bar isn’t exactly my idea of an educational environment. Sure, the ill-informed comment made us roll our eyes, but we dwelled on it for no longer than 60 seconds before we resumed our spirited talking.
Later in the evening, the whole incident was a distant thought in our minds as we received an informal tour of my town’s fire station (thanks, Dad!). As we parted ways soon after that, I thought about how the day wasn’t about diabetes, anyways: It was about hanging out with friends, and laughing with them—lots!