Wednesday, 31 January 2007

I, thou, you & me


Yesterday, whilst lurking in my den of self-pity, I watched day time TV. Trisha Goddard was my nurse for the day. She numbed my throbbing brain with a stream of guests, presented for my mindless consumption.

To be honest, I can't recall what they were on about. But suffice to say, it was the usual banal, melodramatic crap that the 'lowest common denominator' seem to enjoy sharing on TV. I make no apologies for being a snob. Anyways, I'm still ill. I have a letter from my mum that says I can be nasty.

However, my smugness was curtailed when I realised I shared a common character flaw with them. Let's call it the 'You Tendency'.

I first became aware of my own You Tendency during clinical supervision some years back. We were talking about a particularly irksome patient who really got on my tits. I couldn't abide the man. Yet I had an obligation to care for him. My supervisor, being the good mental health worker, asked me the standard question;

"So, how do you feel?"

My reply went something like this;

"Well, you know, you feel guilty and you get frustrated. You think you're not doing your job well enough..."

"You mean I, surely?" She interjected.

And at that point I realised what I'd done. Uncomfortable with my own feelings towards the man, I'd projected them out of myself. Not only that, when I said 'you' I didn't mean 'thou' - my supervisor, I meant you - as in everyone. All of us.

<unsaid>There's nothing wrong with feeling like this. It's fine to hate a patient and avoid contact with him, possibly to the detriment of his health. Because everyone agrees that he's a twat.</>

In using this linguistic trick, we can delude ourselves that our prejudices are acceptable.

So, how do you feel about this?

7 comments:

Louie said...

Trisha isn't the best, to be honest, old man. It's Judge Judy all the way, who just says what she wants (plus she has a man with a gun, protecting her, so you've got to abide by her rulings).

How do I feel about what though? I often talk about myself in the 3rd person...but that's just a personal quirk.

As for hating other people. My gf is a doctor and told me a tale of wiping a shitty arse the other day. I wouldn't do it for a million pounds (maybe a million, but not less).

You...I...thou...themst, whatever. Wipe up your own crap and stop bothering me.

:)

jamon said...

Well I'll never: She's a real judge 'n everything. Didn't know that.

I've wiped my fair share of arses in the past. Before I stumbled my way into 'management'. The trick is to breath through the mouth and use your soft pallet to block the nasal passages.

Oh, and think of breasts.

Incidentally, why do women have them? Someone should find out :-)

jamon said...

Perhaps the breasts bit wont work so well for your GF

Louie said...

No...I think a lifetime of cleaning up my own shit is hard enough. But I can see that others get places doing so, so who am I to judge.

And being a real judge is what makes Judge Judy so funny. If you back chat the judge she can put you in the clink!

Oh to have such power...ha!

Murph said...

I think the "You Tendency" is more than just a trick, I think it's how _____ (I, you, we, they, people, someone, everyone, etc.) generally identify things.

Judge Judy is to jurisprudence as a tabloid is to journalism. That is to say, Judge Judy isn't very good at providing justice, but is good at sensationalism, which is likely the same thing to the lowest common denominator.

Holly said...

In my first year of university, I had a prof who insisted on correcting anyone who said "you" when they meant "I". He taught us it was bad policy to speak for the species as a whole, and besides, he didn't want a bunch of 18-year-olds describing him (meaning "you" when a kid talks in class).

This was very annoying, as often i would lose my train of thought when he interrupted, but, you know, I did learn the lesson. Even now when I say "you" I correct myself.

It is important to own our own opinions. Rather, it is important that *I* say what *I* mean.

jamon said...

Precisley what I was getting at Holly. But I can imagine how damned annoying it would get if I were reminded of this each time I reverted to my You Tendency.

Sometimes it's important. Sometimes not.