I’ve been reminiscing about how we communicate with one another and how it’s all too easy to misunderstand the context of spoken and written word. A private joke shared but overheard. Use of the word ‘society’, aka no-one in particular, during a moody rant. You get the drift.
I was born and raised in central Scotland, United Kingdom, where the weather is moody, the scenery is stunning and everyone calls each other a cunt. Friend or foe, you’re a cunt. It’s the alternative to “mate”, “pal”, “dude” etc. Random remarks colourfully expressed by the range of regional dialects within the country. Words that invisible powers that be erratically deem offensive despite them having nothing to do with the conversation. Not comprehending that no malice is meant.
Take me. My name, as you know, is Sharon. My nickname is Shaz. Interestingly of Arabic origin meaning ‘alone’ or ‘leader’. I fit both depending on many variables. My close friends and family call me Shazza which in Australia means you’re ‘white trash’. But I’m not Australian. Really close people call me Shaz the Spaz. Outdated slang for mentally retarded or spasticity. Spasticity is what my brain bleed left me with in the lower left side so you work it out.
Word usage is globally subjective and should some deem, for example, ‘midget’ something that should never be used then… look at one of my favourite childhood sweets! The various companies who still widely call yummy gummy sweets ‘Midget Gems’ . Not one person in my social circle gives the name a second thought and raises it for discussion. Yes, I hear the voices saying that I’ve not been the victim of being called a midget and “don’t understand”. I do understand and have been called many things equally offensive to me personally.
I worked as a postwoman (not ‘postperson’) for Royal Mail when I left school. The constant banter between all of us consisted of obscenities, innuendo, sexual connotations, you name it and we loved it. It kept us laughing as we carried out repetitive gruelling physical labour. If anyone told us to shut up, they got a resounding ‘mind your own business!’ as we smiled.
Fast forward a few years to when I was a dental nurse. I left the job as I was about to qualify because the position in the next paragraph appeared in the newspaper. Anyway, myself and the other members of staff behaved in the same way: innuendo with use of the phrase, “Hey [NAME], wanna give me a filling?”, oldest gag ever but it got us giggling. As for Thursday nights with the oral surgeon. The word oral was thrown around as we had our coffee break. You see, just a laugh but now I imagine the environment is as sterile as an autoclaved probe. “Probe… Good grief!”
So I got my dream position in a pathology lab as a lab assistant and mortician. If there were no autopsies that day, I assisted the staff up in the histopathology department. Picture an environment of gleaming stainless soulless steel, intimidating instruments, razor sharp blades, specimens in formaldehyde and the gentle hum of the body coolers. And you guessed it, banter. Amongst lab staff, mortuary staff, porters and the flow of undertakers whom we got to know as friends. We all ribbed each other to raise our spirits in such a morbid workplace. Positively criminal things were thrown at one another from our smiling faces and we loved it. It helped us cope in that environment. You’d need to be there five days a week to fully understand.
When I was admin on an uncensored media site I monitored members’ behaviour and edited content of the most horrific kind you could ever witness. Relentless comments were fired between users like a machine gun. The only people who took offence and reported them were those who dangerously took offence on other people’s behalf. This became a constant nuisance for the admin and quite dangerous. I dealt with endless reported posts from users stating he/she said this and that but rarely did we get ones from the actual people involved. And no action was taken as nothing in the extensive rules was breached and the do-gooders were warned about wasting time. There was a strong encouragement of freedom of speech (unless content was illegal according to the country of origin’s Law). If people hit report because they were personally affected, we suggested they sort it out in the Water Cooler forum, privately or in cases beyond reconciliation, hit block. A website like that was bursting at the seams with brutal comments but it was all dependent on multiple social factors if offence was taken or not. Admin had to be very careful.
After all’s said and done, humour is subjective. Not everyone gets offended. Banter is extremely variable and people can be wonderfully strange. Don’t interfere unless what you hear is 100% about you or, for example, a family member. Leave others to take offence if they actually choose to do so. People love to slaughter each other in jest and it certainly can sound/read as terribly abusive to an outsider.
Enjoy life, enjoy each others’ company, your unique brand of humour. Life’s too precious to seek out perceived wrongdoing in the name of trying to sanitise society according to fuck knows who’s rules. That sounds and reads terrible on-screen in black and white but know I’m smiling right now.
© Copyright: Sharon Lawson™