How would you react to that announcement if there were people in front of you and a raging fire behind? Faced with that scenario most people would be panicking fighting to get out of the building but what firefighters are trained to do is get in, fight the fire and get people out safely. I can keep my head in a crisis and have run into gunfire and explosions to see if I can keep at least one other person safe. The result of this means that if you’re scared by the situation, I can and will do my best to settle your nerves and get you out, uninjured if possible, but certainly alive. You can count on me.
While all that is true of me I look around and I see suicide bombers, IED’s on dirt roads, people being killed for no sensible reason. I have to ask WHY? Is it impossible for human beings to treat each other with respect and dignity? I have never been guilty of racism, or of disliking anyone based on their religious beliefs. I keep hearing “Nigga” on the radio and in clubs when I do go out. Some people still find it offensive but it’s just a word, okay it was used as a derogatory name for black slaves back in the day. But it is just a word.
Why do we get so upset by words? As soon as you do that you give that word power. It doesn’t deserve power because it’s just a word. Whoever takes offence at any word gives that word power to cause distress. It’s only words, the most commonly used word in English describes exactly what English (the language) is, a bastardisation. I use that word to describe things not to describe a person because it no longer has a meaning in the modern world.
I would describe myself as a geek, even though most of us think of academics as geeks. Why? Because I’m a philologist and I like to use words out of context. Has anyone seen Dustin Hoffman in Lenny? Lenny Bruce used to antagonise his audiences and then explain that words only have power, to antagonise, if we choose to give them power.
If someone calls you a pig turn it back on them by saying thank you for noticing. If they are willing to try and abuse you verbally it’s because they want a standard response so give them something they couldn’t possibly take offence at, or make a joke out of it. It’s surprising how calm someone becomes if you whisper at them when they’re shouting at you.
Today’s thought for the week ahead: try giving a random act of kindness, a compliment or buy a coffee for a stranger, you will be surprised how brightening up someone’s day can brighten your own. Till the next time we meet, Shazbat, nano nano Mork out!