• Lisa Alex Gray

An Open Letter to Society at Large: Please Don’t Reject Me


It’s that time of year when office illness abounds and one rogue sneeze can send chairs scattering in terror.


I think being ostracized as a carrier of the plague (i.e. the common cold), is the closest we can get in current society to real community rejection.


Or at least that’s how I felt when I sneezed in a meeting earlier today.


I now understand how cavemen felt when their cave group decided — you’re out — you no longer have value in our cave-society.


Of course, sneezing in a meeting is just one of many areas in my life where I’ve felt rejected by society lately.


The following are a few other times, recently, I’ve worried I might be placed on the “Preparation For Societal Rejection List”.


1. Grocery Shopping


I was standing in line at the check out watching my items dance along the conveyor belt when I noticed the person behind me in line eyeing my assortment of items with what I could only describe as disdain.


Yes, I had a canister of sugar-free whipped cream riding alongside a cherry pie. And a 12 pack of diet rootbeer cozied up to a box of microwave extra butter popcorn and a broccoli stalk.


I understand this combination is against the current societal grocery store rules dictating no purchases of junk food and healthy food are allowed at the same time (as it is offensive to both junk food eaters and health-conscious people alike).


I beg of you please don’t turn me in and have me societally banned from Publix. I’m running out of grocery stores to shop at.


2. Shopping in a Junior Clothing Store (at 55)


Sure I could pretend I’m shopping for my imaginary teenage daughter, Chloe (I’ve always liked that name), but then I wouldn’t be able to try anything on.


And, maybe there’s an age when 55-year-old knees poking out of a short denim skirt is out of favor, but do you mind putting your phone away, I think you’ve captured enough images for your Instagram post.


In addition, just because I’m holding a pink crop top as I enter the dressing room, doesn’t mean you have to run fleeing in the other direction, screaming cover your eyes, like I’m a villain from the Netflix Bird Box movie.


3. Unaware of a Breaking News Story


I realize I deserve that eye roll for NOT being aware of the latest news story to hit the media in the last five minutes.


However, please don’t exclude me from your riveting conversation as punishment. I promise to try and do better.


In fact, next time Harry and Meghan decide to leave the UK and quit their “jobs” I will be Johnny-on-the-spot, aware of all details, and able to hold a compelling conversation (I've downloaded the TMZ app and set it for push notifications).


I’ve made a decision, that in response to my recent unacceptable behavior, to prepare a letter pleading my case, in the hope of avoiding any formal action.


A rough draft is below. Let me know if what you think.


Dear Society at Large,


I truly do have the desire to remain a part of your group. I have learned my lesson, and am making it my daily mission to improve.


I now wear a surgical mask and gloves every day so I won’t spread any colds.


In addition, I order my food online through Amazon, so others won’t be subjected to my poor/confusing eat habits.


Furthermore, in reference to my clothing choices, I’ve started wearing black leggings under my denim skirt so my unsightly 55-year-old knees will no longer scare anyone.


And, to counter my breaking news ignorance, I’ve taken an internship at TMZ (3rd shift to work around my day job) so I can be right there when the important news happens.


Lastly, I want to remind you that I have shown myself to be a valuable member of society in other ways…


Such as, I always wave cars in front of me when I’m in traffic and smile at people I don’t know when I pass them on the street.


When I’m in a store, I help shorter people by reaching for items on the top shelf (I’m tall, which I believe is also of value to society).


In closing, I’m asking for a pardon and that you remove me from the “Preparation For Societal Rejection List” or at the very least consider allowing me to wear my jean skirt without leggings during the summer months (it’s so hot here in Florida).


Yours truly, Lisa

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©2020 by Lisa Alex Gray