Joke's on You

You might ask me, “What’s the difference between a UFO and a smart blonde?”

And I, knowing full well the answer, would shrug and ask “What?”

And you, laughing at your own genius, would answer, “People have seen UFOs.”

And I, playing along, would laugh too, and say, “Of course! That’s hilarious!”

But what you don’t know

Is that I am fighting a battle, one that may seem totally insignificant in the grand scheme of things, especially when compared to the battles against cancer and famine and disease fought everyday by those far worse off than I,

But I am fighting.

I am fighting the stereotype; I am proving, to myself and to anyone else who cares to take notice,

I am proving that I am better than what you think of me when you see the back of my blonde little head bobbing down the sidewalk, what you think of my family when you see the five of us together and question how so many towheads have managed to be in the same place at the same time, for surely they aren’t bright enough to coordinate things.

And then, since you pride yourself for your humor, you ask, “Why did the blonde get fired from her job at the M&M factory?”

And, again, I play along, raise an eyebrow, wait.

And you, because you can’t contain yourself any longer, you burst out, “Because she kept throwing out all the W’s” and you howl because it’s all so funny.

But what you don’t know

Is that I want to move beyond that job at the M&M factory, that I want to be someone and be important and do something meaningful but I might not get to because before I even open my mouth to speak my opinion I have been judged.

I have been judged because I am a woman

Because I am a woman, an upper middle-class white woman, and I am from Ohio where they do nothing but scream at television screens as synthetic leather balls go sailing through the air and trumpets blast endlessly.

I have been judged because somehow the shade of the strands that fall into my eyes as I speak, somehow those strands and their color represent all that you need to know about me, because somehow you haven’t found enough to judge me for just in general appearance and so you take my hair color into consideration as well.

And because everyone knows how clueless blondes are, you think, “Here we go again” and you have already made up your mind about me before you even let me show you who I am and what I am capable of and how I want to make good and make change, you have made up your mind.

And so I have to work twice as hard to earn your respect; I have to not only convince you that I am the student or employee you are looking for but I first have to convince you to look beyond what you see and to forget your preconceptions and misconceptions and just see me for who I really am and not what I look like. I have to work twice as hard.

You’re on a roll, so you continue, “Why don’t blondes like to make Kool-Aid?”

I don’t even bother with a response, I know you will finish it whether I act or not, and I’m right,

You go on, “Because they can’t figure out how to fit eight quarts of water into that little package.”

And now you can’t stop, so carried away by the hilarity, ignoring how the pale cheeks that accompany the flaxen hair flush, you keep going, “Why was the blonde happy when she finished the puzzle in a week? Because the box said 3-5 years!”

You don’t even stop to see my reaction, you just rush on, so excited, “What can strike a blonde without her even knowing it? A thought! Hear about the blonde that got an AM radio? It took her a month to realize she could play it at night! How do you make a blonde laugh on Saturday? Tell her a joke on Wednesday! Why did the blonde stare at frozen orange juice? Because it said ‘concentrate!’ A blond is going to London on a plane, how can you steal her window seat? Tell her the seats that are going to London are all in the middle row! How do you measure a blonde's intelligence? Stick a tire pressure gauge in her ear! How  ̶ ”

And this is when I get up.

And this is when you suddenly stop, and ask what’s wrong, because it’s all fun and games to you and you don’t realize that sometimes it’s just not funny anymore and you don’t understand that I am so much more than those jokes but so many people will never know it.

But what you don’t know

Is that I can be funny too, that you are not the only one who can throw insults around and expect only amusement and some sort of gratitude in return, some sort of gratitude, for you are so witty, some sort of gratitude.

And as I walk away, just before I go out the door, I turn,

“Why are blonde jokes so short? So everyone else can remember them.”

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