Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: BRAND (01/12/17)
- TITLE: Everything you Say and Do
By Joel Nickel
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I couldn’t fight the smirk that stretched across my face like a two mile long marijuana crop stretches across soggy territory of Vietnam. Of course if wasn’t illegal there, but it was here.
“You do!” She knew. I knew that she suspected, and I knew I couldn’t change her mind. Nonverbal communication far outweighs verbal communication in the sense of searching for truth in someone’s words and facial cues. However, non-verbal communication is often misread.
“oh, please. You’re an open book about everything else.” She countered.
“Well then I wouldn’t have any reason to say no, would I?” I thought this conversation was going on a direction favoring me. She didn’t respond and looked away in disbelief.
“I laugh every time someone asks me this question. It’s because I know for a fact they won’t believe me.” Last week some maintenance workers asked me if I had ‘stuff’. I thought to myself, is it where I live? What I wear? How I talk? Each of these indicators contributes to her suspicion.
This time I was dressed up. I was clothed in a clean Stafford travel shirt, Michael Strahan dress pants, a Royal Carribean dark blue tie and slicked back hair that covered my neck.
After a good minute of silence she spoke. “When you use phrases like “Hey Mannnn” and draw out the N’s. You just speak so slow, and unprofessional. You always cough.”
I felt categorized, like something claimed me that didn’t own me.
“There’s a verse in the Bible that says be slow to speak and quick to listen.”
“That’s an excuse.” She refused to accept my answer again.
“Ok, well the slowest speakers are the fastest listeners.”
I felt stupid.
“Ok, I speak slow, because I speak thoughtfully. I have longer hair because it feels good when its wet and I’m surfing. And I cough because I have a lung disorder.”
I continued on, “Even if I wanted to smoke I couldn’t. My Uncle’s house was a gas chamber full of Cuban cigar second hand smokes.”
“Ok, ok, Fair enough.”
We carried on the conversation in many other directions, but ‘She’ represents many men and women I’ve talked to that preconceive thoughts of me as a druggie. We are such a people group who categorize and figure people out. We inherently identify with groups in everything we do. We also do this to strangers. Every stranger you walk past of meet you brand them by what they wear and how they appear. I’m glad I can use these conversations to shatter stereotypes we have created.
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