Monday, January 27, 2014

We Can Hear What You're Really Saying

In a heavy southern accent, the DMV examiner asked our seventeen-year old son, Adam, if he had ever been convicted of a DUI?

He said, “Yes.”

Adam didn’t drink. Or drive. Or have a license. What he really meant was, “I’m a little nervous.”

Communication is a tricky, tricky business these days. Political correctness, rampant hypocrisy, personal agendas, and the fact that everyone with fingers has a website and is selling something has put a crimp in getting the straight story with veracity.


Crap. What does that mean? Technically, it means “habitual truthfulness.”

Truth? Oh boy, but I’ve heard that truth is a relative term, because I go to college where simple things become as nasty and complicated as a knot in the shoelace of a toddler’s tennis shoe—that has been urinated on all day.


Relative means that your truth is not my truth or our truth is not their truth unless it’s true on Comedy Central.  I think.

How is truth supposed to work if we can’t agree on whether or not there actually is a knot in that shoelace? Or whether or not the smell wafting up from that shoelace is urine when we have to untie that shoelace knot with our teeth.

Examples of relative truthfullness include:

Hearing politicians call their LIES misspeaking. “I know I said that there would be a chicken in every pot, but what I meant to say is that everyone should smoke some pot, and then you won’t care one way or the other about getting free chicken.”

Hearing politicians caught in their LIES, claiming that they could have said something more “tightly.”  More tightly????? “I know I said that I was born in a log cabin without a pot or a chicken to put in the pot, but what I should have said is that I made all that stuff up.”

Hearing politicians deny their LIES.  “I had no idea that I said that stuff about free chicken. I found out when you found out on the news. And they never get anything wrong. Right?”

Don’t even get me started on the phrases “cutting edge,” “mean-spirited,” or “stupid doo-doo head.”

It is my grandchildren’s “reality” to call me “mean” when I refuse to let them overdose on Otterpops. “You are a mean old YaYa for not letting us eat enough frozen sugar water to give a whale diabetes.”

But I know that what the children are really saying is, “It’s so hard learning to be self-controlled.”

Truth. Civility. Semantics. It’s a relative minefield out there.

Linda (Doo-Doo Head) Zern

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