I was a city kid, savvy to the dangers of the incivility of civilization. I’ve had to field unwanted advance from local celebrities, fend off junkies and drunks on the public bus, and walk home at nighttime from work. But I don’t think I’ve ever felt more upset than when I had my jack o’ lantern smashed at Halloween when I was in my 30’s.

Of course it was the neighborhood teenagers and I knew better than to have left it out. But it was then that I coined the phrase “pumpkin smashers” to describe “those” people. The people who are without compassion for the efforts of others’ creativity. People who are insensitive and completely entitled to treat other people like “its”.

And what I’ve realized is that there are pumpkin smashers in all life’s arenas, not just on your street on Halloween. People lurking on the internet and Facebook whose only care is for themselves and their righteousness. They will criticize you and your stuff as quickly as picking a chunk of mud from their shoe and then quickly move off to do it to someone else.

I get that the world is full of pumpkin smashers. But why do we let them get to us? Why are we so incensed by their lack of compassion? How can they be so thoughtless and rude? It’s breaking the rules of civility, morality, and humanity to act that way. But these people are not our equals. They are wounded toddlers. And they are the real ones in need of our compassion.

So the next time you get a knee jerk reaction to a pumpkin smasher, take a moment to consider it is absolutely not about you. It’s about their lacks, their sadness, and their losses. And extend to them the compassion that they so desperately need to give to themselves. They may borrow it, they may not but it’s the only humanity they may have all day.

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