Obligatory Father's Day post that ends up being about everything but - Tactical Ninja
Jun. 17th, 2013
09:25 am - Obligatory Father's Day post that ends up being about everything but
So apparently it's Father's Day in America yes? That's weird. I say this because Mother's Day seems to be shared across all the English speaking western countries, but in NZ, Father's Day is.. some time in September I think?
Anyway, I am looking at all these Father's Day posts and going "Wait, no, that's not it. Nope." Also, my father is dead, and has been since 2004.
There are lots of things my Dad could be, according to The Sensitive Person's Guide to Euphemistic References:
He could have passed on.
He could have gone to a better place.
He may be no longer with us.
He may even be in God's hands*.
But he isn't any of those things. He's dead. Because that's what he is. It's not like he moved to Majorca. He died, finito, end of story, etc. And I find it.. odd.. that we have this unspoken rule that we aren't supposed to talk about death as death, instead to refer to it euphemistically by using far more words and obfuscating the meaning, so it could be construed as something other than what it is. Even though everybody knows that 'passed on' means 'dead', there's still this requirement to avoid saying 'dead'. I find that strange, and my father, who never minced words (except when writing limericks, but that's different), would not appreciate euphemistic waffling about his current state of existence. He'd be all "Stop mucking about and say what you mean."
So here's to my dead Dad and his direct approach to difficult topics. He learned me good.
* If he weren't a bunch of ashes around the roots of a tree right now, he'd totally be spinning in his grave at that one, being entirely non-religious. Actually, funny story (if you're in my family anyway). He wanted a tree planted on him right? So we duly did that. But as it turns out, human ashes are acidic, and not all that good for trees. The first tree died kind of quickly, and guess who got the job of digging him up, mixing a bunch of lime and compost in with him, and planting him again? Er yup, that'd be me. It was not as gross as you might think, and I just know Dad would have appreciated the humour in it.
So yeah, euphemisms. Actually, it's something I only just realised on my last trip to the US - euphemisms seem to be a much bigger thing there. As an aside, this is probably why rivet, who is originally from the US, finds so many hilariously rude things in my innocent statements, things that leave me going "Whaddisay?" before the penny drops, and then going "Oooooooohhhhhh" with wide eyes at her remarkably capacity for filth.
Anyway, so yes. The US seems to be a country of euphemisms. I always feel kind of weirded out when people talk about their pets 'going to the bathroom' - be it in the garden or on the rug. Because, well, I picture the pet going to the actual bathroom, and unless there's a little bathroom in the garden or on the rug, complete with triple ply and bidet and the like, it's just.. odd. Yes, I know it's a euphemism for pee or poo or evacuation of bowels or urination - and that's the point. We all do, and yet it's more polite to talk about non-existent bathrooms instead. It's not a common expression here. Most people would just say "Oh crap, the cat peed on the rug", you know?
While I was at that conference, people kept asking me if I was part of a 'medicine circle'. I had a strange reaction to this question. I mean, part of me has an adverse reaction to the idea of cultural appropriation that goes along with the term itself, because to me that sounds very much like something that's been yoinked from Native American spirituality. And then there's the part of me that comes from a culture where stoicism is a Thing, and you don't admit you're sick until you can't hide it, so the idea of a group of people gathering for healing is also a bizarre idea for me.
Exacerbating this, there's the fact that we have socialised healthcare here, along with a state agency that deals with bulk buying of medicines. What this means is that until quite recently, we haven't had the pharmaceutical companies advertising to us, implying to the population that there's something wrong with us and that there's a pill for that, in the same way as happens in the US. I have a view of US culture (which I admit may be inaccurate) as one that involves a lot of medication - being medicated is the norm rather than the exception it seems, and to me and my internalised stoicism that feels a bit like a form of national hypochondria. I'm not saying it is, because I'm the first to admit that this view is coloured by everything but an insider knowledge of US culture, and I do work at trying not to be judgey about it based on my assumptions and ignorance.
However, this was my reaction when asked the question about medicine circles. I was all "No, because to be in a medicine circle implies I think there's something wrong with me, and my view of psychedelics and drug use in general is that we shouldn't have to justify it by calling it medicine, that it's perfectly ok for a healthy person to use these substances to enhance their lives or for fun or in the pursuit of pleasure, and that aspect of drug use is being invalidated by the implications of the term 'medicine circle." Witness my high dudgeon, it's a thing to behold, isn't it?
So then this lovely older lady explained to me that in the US, 'medicine circle' is a euphemism, because the attitudes there tend to be more puritan which means that saying what you really mean can have some pretty nasty consequences, and because seeking healing is a more acceptable and palatable pursuit than pleasure (damn it all, what the fuck, says my inner pom). Medicine circles are groups of people doing exactly what I described above, but the name given to the groups is the psychedelic equivalent of 'going to the bathroom' or 'passing on.'
And then I went "Oooooohhhhh" and felt a bit silly. And now I'm a lot more careful about working out what might be a euphemism and what might not when talking with someone from the US. But you still won't catch me using them, and I'm still not in any medicine circles, mmk?
Last night I looked up my old World of Warcraft guild, The Amaranthine Order. Turns out it's still going. They'll be celebrating their 10 year anniversary next year. Wow. Literally.
Finally, tonight is our BodyCorp AGM. It's almost as if someone went "Hey, how can we make everyone's Monday even more onerous?" I shall fortify myself with sandwiches first to avoid an attack of the hangries, and hope it's all over quickly. Next year, I'm totally making Dr Wheel go.