Thursday, January 17, 2008


[Blog: this was part of the conversation from which the "Feminism" post stemmed. My dear readers, if you exist, which you probably don't, you are well aware that this blog is merely a secondary outlet for publishing aspects of my private correspondence which, in the opinion of your humble servant the Author, are interesting enough to warrant public exposure. This is the second time that anyone has ever written back... she asked, "How do you want to express sensitivity?" I had to chew on that one for a while.]

Okay, then. First, you have to understand that Jenn is[1], among other things, a role model to me. She's a long way down the road towards being the sort of person I want to be eventually, and since I'm a natural mimic, hanging out with her puts me in the same frame of mind she has. I remember fairly recently, I happened to have hurt my head or something minor the night before and I was complaining about it. The conversation, as best I can remember, went something like this:

M: My head hurts.
J: That's interesting.
M. looks surprised: That's not what I thought you'd say.
J: Well, it's not going to hurt you. It's just interesting.
M. laughs: Okay, you're right. I guess we don't really believe in giving sympathy for pain, do we?
J: It depends. If you were a child, or someone small and weak, maybe I would. But pain isn't going to hurt you. It's just an interesting fact.
M: You're pretty cold-blooded sometimes, you know?
J. grins: Thanks.

This has actually influenced me, and I've found myself sometimes, when someone else is in pain (like, you know, a roommate has a date that didn't go well) saying, "That's interesting. Tell me about it." It doesn't seem to dramatically alter their feelings about their pain, but it lets me be sympathetic to their feelings without buying in to the idea that a bad thing is actually happening. How's that for an answer?


[1] Understand that I've normalized the tense of the verbs used. English actually isn't very good at expressing things that are going to have happened, let alone things that are someday going to potentially not have happened yesterday, in a place which isn't exactly a place. (Essentially, I don't believe in space-time as a fundamental reality.) So pretend there are only four dimensions while I'm telling this story. I'm afraid I had to choose, when relating the story, between precision and comprehensibility.

"The presentation or 'gift' of the Holy Ghost simply confers upon a man the right to receive at any time, when he is worthy of it and desires it, the power and light of truth of the Holy Ghost, although he may often be left to his own spirit and judgment." --Joseph F. Smith (manual, p. 69)

Be pretty if you are,
Be witty if you can,
But be cheerful if it kills you.

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