It’s amazing how you can think you know people until an incident occurs that redefines them. Years ago, just before going off to college, a high school classmate and I worked for the summer at a mental institution.

We were naïve.

Admittedly, we were shocked by some of the behaviors of the mentally ill, but we were shocked even more by the behaviors of some of the caregivers.

My classmate didn’t know any of the caregivers, but I did. I would not have believed that some of them, whom I knew as pillars of the church, would abuse the patients.

Say it isn’t so!

When I told my mom about these church folks abusing patients, she simply shook her head in disapproval and said, “Uh huh!” She didn’t even act surprised. There was no “say-it-isn’t-so” coming from her lips. I had to assume that she knew these folks better than her teenage daughter.

Recently, another say-it-isn’t-so incident occurred. I was talking to a male friend whom I’ve known for decades about some power-play activity going on among some women. Lo and behold, he proclaimed it to be “just the usual petty women stuff” and dismissed it.

I couldn’t believe my ears. When I questioned (challenged) his ready dismissal, he chuckled a bit and asked, “Didn’t you know I was a male chauvinist pig?’

No, I did not! Say it isn’t so! How could I have known him all these years and not known he was an MCP?

Well, of course, the answer is simple: The right circumstances had just not arisen before, or he had just let the circumstances pass without MCP comments.

His lighthearted confession bothered me a bit at the time, but I’m over it. He’s still my friend but redefined. I can’t deny the MCP part of him by saying, “Say it isn’t so.”