Thursday, November 13, 2008

Daughter BB recently launched a discussion of the word “Antidisestablishmentarianism.” It’s now a staple in her vocabulary repertoire and she’s using it regularly in her school work and social interactions.

Ok, not really. We did discuss the word in the context of taking a really hard vocabulary word and breaking it down to the root word. Anti – dis – establish – ment – arian – ism (English majors out there – I’m quite aware that this probably isn’t properly decoded, thank you very much. Works for me.) This lead to a very interesting discussion of “the establishment.” And boy-howdy are her ears ever alert these days for any references to “they,” as in “the powers that be.” As in “they are tearing up Buckingham Park” or “they rearranged the organic foods section at Stop-n-Shop” or “they added more songs to Rock Band 2.”

So this discussion has caused us to pause and think about who “they” are – to challenge a speaker to define “they,” to question the group-think effect of what “they” say, and to find new ways in our own language to avoid use of an omni-present, all-knowing, Big-Brotherish “they.” For my part, it has caused me to be more thoughtful and precise with word selection.

*****

On the subject of choosing your words wisely...

Many moons ago, when the world was still flat and DB and I were preparing for marriage, we had several lovely pre-marriage counseling sessions with a sweet little Italian woman who’d gone to high school with my mother. Mrs. Cacciatore talked us through communication and commitment, Myers-Briggs personality testing, and shared some sage advice from both her professional training and from her many years of successful marriage and parenting.

A few things stick, even after all this time. First, Dougie is outgoing and social and needs lots of human interaction. I prefer great book or movie and a warm fire. Dougie is energized being out and about with a crowd, while it drains me. The exact opposite is also true – my batteries are recharged by a night in and DB needs an extra boost to make it through. We also learned that the smell of bacon cooking does strange things to a pregnant woman. Don’t ask.

Mrs. Cacciatore also taught us something very interesting about one particular word – YOU. She issued a challenge. Try to make it through an entire day without using the word YOU. You’d be surprised at how hard it is (ha, caught me there, huh?).

Nothing wrong with the word, but in the context of learning to communicate well with a soon-to-be spouse, sometimes it can come off as accusatory, preachy, divisive. Especially as a couple is navigating through their early days.

Did you move my keys?

Are you listening to me?

You’re not listening to me!

Try

I wonder where I put my keys?

Am I speaking loud enough to be heard?

I’m not sure I’m expressing how I really feel.

It’s a challenge, friends. Try going for a day… an hour even, finding OTHER ways to express yourself (dang, did it again!). It might not lead to elimination of the word YOU, but it will help you to think carefully before you speak.

By the way, thanks Mrs. Cacciatore! Still going strong after 17 years!

*****

I don’t know who to thank, or all the mechanics of whether or not it’s a good thing for the US economy, but I’m sure happy to see gas prices that start with $2, rather than $3 or $4 or more… I recently had to get a new vehicle, and the sales person said I should only go with the middle grade gasoline or higher, otherwise it degrades the performance of the engine. Whatever. I’ve only had to get gas once so far, and I did go with the middle button on the gas pump thing, but prices go up again and I’m right back to the low-end stuff.

*****

A huge thank you this week to Dr. P and the makers of Zymar, Vigamox, Polymyxin B-TMP, Cyclopentolate, and Diclofenac eye drops. As a contact lens wearer for more than 20 years, I never had a problem until this week and then WHAM!!! Corneal ulcer. I slept in my contacts – BRIEFLY – on Sunday afternoon, and by Sunday night was in excruciating pain. Under treatment now, but man alive was I ever uncomfortable Sunday through Tuesday. My friend who had this same problem many years ago compared the pain to childbirth, and I totally agree… agonizing, toe-curling CONSTANT pain.

It’s going to take some effort to put contacts back into my eyes – I’ll need to psych myself up for it. In the meantime, get ready for my new KK-does-Sarah-Palin look, friends! I’ll try to avoid the FLDS upswept hair, however.

*****

Big Brother is watching… look busy

*****

kk

1 comment:

Grace said...

Hi, I just found your Blog on SITS,
I'd like to see some excerpts from The Round Oak Table of the 70's.
It is a good challenge to keep the word "you" out of the vocabulary. I learned that one a long time ago, too. The use of "they" should be kept to a minimum. What about using a noun.