looking for a wookiee

I think our family might acquire a new euphemism: “Looking for a wookiee.” It will mean ‘going to the toilet’!

No, we haven’t lost our mind, and if you have ever visited our house you might have a sense of why “Looking for a wookiee” might mean that. Last year, when I was convalescing following surgery, my children (allegedly grown up) gave me a book to keep me occupied: Where’s the Wookiee. It’s a Star Wars version of Where’s Wally (or Where’s Waldo if you’re in the USA) in which there are scenes from the Star Wars franchise of films and in each on Chewbacca the wookiee is hiding along with lots of other characters you also have to find. Are you with me so far? Some of you may be ahead of me.

After enjoying the book I decided that it might be the sort of thing that people might enjoy if they need to pass the time in our downstairs ‘washroom’. Subsequently I was given the sequel that was cleverly titled Where’s the Wookiee 2 and that has replaced the first one.

So if you need to use the smallest room in the house and want to be a bit more delicate about it, you can say that you are going to look for a wookiee.

Of course to most people that will make no sense at all when they hear it, especially if they have not read this bloggage or haven’t visited the house. But it means something to me – not only where I am headed, but also reminding me of my children – and you may hear it if you visit. I wonder what family euphemisms you have…

Of course organisations are very good at having their own language that nobody else can understand. They may start off as euphemisms, or may be terminology used to describe something technical. Perhaps even they are a shorthand for a lengthy description. Most of the time these things seem to become jargon…

Medical jargon is impenetrable to most of us. Computer jargon may as well be Klingon. Magicians have their own language that is actually designed to be difficult for non-magicians to comprehend. And Christian churches have their own jargon that many of us in church don’t understand, never mind outside!

I distinctly remember walking down a street one day and seeing a street preacher haranguing the passers-by with his big black bible tucked under his arm. Next to him were his minions. You could tell they were minions because they were small, yellow and shaped like tic tacs they had smaller black bibles under their arms. Most people were giving him a wide berth as they walked past and as I approached he proclaimed, “Jesus Christ is the propitiation for your sins!”

I should have stopped and asked him to explain what he meant but I was so gobsmacked I kept walking. I have a feeling that I may have been the only one who knew what he meant* (possibly including him!). I still use it more than 25 years later as an example of how not to communicate with your audience.

The problem is that the subject of his message is really important. But the content and delivery method made it so incomprehensible for most passers-by that he completely failed to communicate.

Successful communication requires the successful transmission of information, ideas, emotions, feelings and so much more from a person(s) to another (or others). If you have been heard but not understood you have not communicated you have only expounded. And since ‘ex’ can mean ‘no longer current’ and ‘pound’ can mean ‘to pummel’ an intended recipient is unlikely to be receptive of that approach.

I realise that this bloggage may not have been an example of successful communication, it may have simply been me expounding. If that is the case, I apologise. But if you will excuse me I don’t have time to explain further as I have to go and look for a wookiee.

Be blessed, be a blessing

*It refers to how Jesus made it possible for us to have a good relationship with God by dealing with the wrong stuff in our lives when he died – like when a bodyguard takes a bullet for the person they are protecting.

euphemistically speaking

We have interesting euphemisms for innocuous occurrences.

“bun in the oven” – pregnant
“economical with the truth” – liar
“indisposed” – on the loo (we all do it)
“pre-loved” – second hand (yes, honestly, it’s a phrase that’s coming into usage)
“built for comfort, not speed” – overweight
“need to recharge my batteries” – tired

I’m not sure why we do it for innocuous events and circumstances because surely the idea of a euphemism in to say something indelicate in a delicate way. I am about to indulge in some navel gazing, so if you are not in the mood for that you could stop here and simply enjoy the euphemisms.

At the moment I need to recharge my batteries. But that is literal, not euphemistic. The implant that lived within my abdomen and sent electrical impulses into my brain to (successfully) stop the chronic migraines and cluster headaches has ceased to be. It has shuffled off this mortal coil. It has curled up its tootsies. It has bitten the dust. It has croaked. It is dead.

Sadly this means that the headaches are back and seem to be enjoying their unfettered freedom by running at maximum. So, by way of a warning to you if you see me and I look like a bear with a sore head, I might be feeling like one too (without the fur or claws). If I am grumpy it may be because sleep is at a premium at the moment. If I look like death warmed up, it may be that I am struggling to cope. Sorry (in advance) if I am not up to expectations.

It has been my experience in the past (and is now) that God gives me the grace to cope (just) and the perseverance to carry on despite the pain. That’s not because I am heroic, but because he is gracious.

It has given me a fresh appreciation of what it is like for many people who live with chronic pain, and I can honestly say that if you are in that category I sympathise and empathise with you.

Be blessed, be a blessing.