What kind of human being would actually complain about this?

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Published by: Dan Calabrese on Friday May 12th, 2017

Mother has special headstone made for deceased 4-year-old, only to see it removed because one person was bothered by it. What.

It's modern life circa 2017, I guess. Everything everyone does, always, everywhere, is fair game for everyone else's mockery, scoffing, complaints, critiques . . . whatever. We can all speak to thousands of people instantly, or millions if we're famous enough, so why miss a chance to bitch? Allow that type of thinking to become familiar enough, and pretty soon you get it in your head that you need to keep your fault-finding periscope up all the time, to the point where you'd even bitch to someone about a child's headstone in a cemetery.

No. Check that. You'd feel the instinct to bitch. You wouldn't actually do it, because that would put you in league people so nasty, so thoughtless, so totally lacking in compassion or decency of any kind, you'd quickly recognize the need to exercise your better judgment and refrain from such horrid behavior.

Oh. Sorry. Apparently there's someone out there who'd do it after all . . . and astonishingly, get results:

A mother is devastated after the city council removed her deceased son’s headstone and grave site decorations left by family and friends following a single complaint from another family who said it wasn’t “in keeping” with their family member’s plot. Obviously, the mother is distraught and beside herself following the decision.

Max Corbett-Gardener was only 4 years old when he died from complications related to severe epilepsy. His mother, Jo Corbett-Weeks, scraped and saved for nearly three years to get an almost $5,000 specially-made headstone of a teddy bear holding a star inscribed with a heart touching tribute to her son.

On what would have been Max’s seventh birthday, back in 2015, Jo had the headstone installed as a special present to him.

But just three days later, Jo returned to find the headstone removed from Max’s grave.

. . .

It turns out the council acted after a single member of another family with relatives buried in the cemetery.

“We have a conformity of shapes in our lawn cemetery. We were contacted by people who objected to the shape,” a Malvern Town Council spokesman explained to BBC. “The longer it stayed up, the harder the process would have been.

“It was a very difficult decision to remove it but one we had to make straight away,” the spokesman said.

This all happened in England, and it's entirely possible that the Town Council found its own rules did indeed mandate the change. I don't know, but either way I'm not really that interested in focusing here on the town's decision. They might have hated doing it but legally had no choice once the complaint was lodged.

I'm more interested in focusing on the person who chose to complain. Why would you do that?

We're talking about a cemetery here. You don't live in it. I get that you go there to visit the graves of your loved ones, and perhaps you even do so frequently. There's nothing wrong with that, nor is there anything wrong with wanting the environs to look as nice as they can - simply for the sake of your late loved ones' dignity.

But it's not your home. It's not your work place. It presents no real problem for you if someone else erects a headstone that's not your taste or preference. You go to the cemetery to honor and remember your relatives, not to serve as a landscaping critic. You do that honoring and remembering in your way, and no one should deny you that. But someone else with a grave near yours might have a very different idea of how they want to honor the one they lost.

Now, let's say you just really hate the way that other person's headstone looks. It's gawdy, you think. It's undignified. It stands out too much. It annoys you.

OK. So you're annoyed. How much of an actual problem is that for you, really? How difficult is it to simply ignore that other headstone when you come to the cemetery, and focus on the reason you came there, which was to pay your respects to your own loved ones?

But let's say you're really annoyed, and it's really difficult. Fine. Compare the degree of trouble this is causing you to what you're going to put that other family through by complaining. They saved for three years to get the money to have that headstone made. It's tremendously important to them, crucial to their ability to deal with the loss of their child. No, it doesn't bring the boy back, and no, it doesn't help them in any real way apart from what it does emotionally. But it makes them feel better, and to parents who've lost a child, how much value can you place on that?

Besides, if you force them to remove the headstone after they've invested so much in it - both financially and emotionally - how much more heartache are you now going to introduce into their lives, on top of what's already happened to them?

And knowing all this, you go ahead and complain anyway? So badly do you need to assert your own rights, enforce your own sense of decorum, that the devastation you're going to inflict on these other people seems entirely justified to you.

I have no words.

GDP growth for Obama's final year? A measly 1.6 percent

All you had to do was ignore what you considered an eyesore for a little while, on infrequent occasions, and you would have been perfectly fine. They now have to absorb an entirely new heartache on top of the that's already devastated them, all so you couldn't be bothered by a star and a teddy bear.

You're a monster. You realize that, right?

Now remember, this didn't happen in America, so you can't blame American culture specifically for it. But I do think there's a certain direction in culture worldwide that lionizes the critic. Spend any time on Twitter and you'll quickly realize the megastars are the ones who most cleverly take others down. They're the ones who employ the most cutting mockery, who scoff most mercilessly, setting others up as the targets of mass derision. I don't care what you do, someone is going to bitch about it. People have become so programmed that way, some have apparently elevated their own right to complain over basic human decency.

At least this one person did. I suppose I might feel a little better if I really believed this type of brazenness was rare.

But I don't.

Dan's new novel, BACKSTOP, is a story of spiritual warfare and baseball. Download it from Amazon here!