I was at a denominational meeting, and an amendment was offered to a resolution that was on the floor. It was only two words, but they were important words to the person who proposed adding them. It took several minutes for the moderator, the parliamentarian, and the person proposing the amendment to work through the procedure and get the amendment and the resolution appropriately voted on. I felt cranky and impatient. Really cranky. I picked up my cell phone and was about to text, “Just shoot me.”
What stopped me on the spot was the realization that anything we text might be read by others – we know not whom. I didn’t want to be “on the record” with words that could be taken out of context as being a genuine invitation to violence.
What stops me now is astonishment (and embarrassment) that a phrase like “Just shoot me” has elbowed its way into my conversation at all. I am universally opposed to violence and specifically critical of the easy availability of firearms. What was I thinking?
One explanation is, of course, that this phrase is just hyperbole – an exaggerated way of saying that I would rather be almost anywhere else doing just about anything else, than sitting through a partially garbled parliamentary procedure about two words. And while that is true, it doesn’t really acknowledge the insidious way that a violent phrase snuck into my language.
So I will be listening for other phrases to use the next time I am cranky and impatient – phrases that are sassy and irreverent but not violent. Got any suggestions?
I remind myself that my problems are “first world problems” and it really puts things in perspective.
It makes me think of conversation I had with a friend awhile back about how many phrases we use, neglecting their original meaning and context. Having grown up on the west coast, I couldn’t be further removed from the South. So it is perhaps not surprising to not immediately have thought about what “cotton pickin'” (just as one example) actually means. How many phrases we use, in sometimes innocuous and colloquial ways, carry an underlying and implicitly violent history within them. How carelessly we use them forgetting their past lives and the impact that history still carries.