I NEED YOUR HELP
By Jackie Deal
There’s a word, or a phrase, that I need. I know it exists and it’s tucked way back in my mind. I‘ve thought and thought (a hard thing to do with so little practice.) Google it? Of course, no matter what we need; Google it, right? But the problem is: I don’t know what the word is that I want to Google. I tried and Google just got into a snit and so did I. I even threatened to flush it down the toilet, but it knew better.
Dictionaries! AW! I have two huge dictionaries that I haven’t used since Google and Yahoo came along. Down on my hand and knees to dig them out of the bottom of the book case. Ugh! They weigh a ton. Blow off the dust. And then realize. You can’t look up a word if you don’t have a word to look up! Remember when your kids were little: “Mmmaaaa, how do you spell it?” And you said, “Look it up” and they said, “Mmmmaaa, how can I look it up if I can’t spell it?” Smart alecks!
Aw Ha! Roget’s Thesaurus. What a waste of time. Nothing even close. Can’t find antonyms and synonyms if you don’t have a word to begin with.
So what is this word I’m so steamed up about? Okay, let me explain. You know how after something bad goes along for a long, long time and you have to be on high alert and then eventually you begin to not really care anymore? It’s sorta like burn-out, only that’s not really it. It’s maybe what happens down in Louisiana or Mississippi (remember learning to spell that in grade school? M-i- curly que-curly que-i curly que-curly que- i-humpback-humpback i.) Now if you’ve just moved there, (no matter how it’s spelled) and there’s an evacuation ordered for hurricanes or tornadoes. You leap into the car, Whoops! Grab the kids and the dog and then leap into the car. But as it happens over and over you move slower and finally you say, “Aw what the heck, it’s just hype.” And you don’t leave.
It happened in London during the bombing by Hitler. At first everyone dashed into the shelters and stayed down low. But night after night when they weren’t hit; well, finally some of them didn’t run so fast or didn’t run at all. Unfortunately, then some of them never ran again.
It’s an actual medical condition. You can tolerate a condition of high adrenalin just so long. Adrenalin is the old “Fight or Flight” hormone. The Siberian tiger is attacking and you need to fight or get the blazes out of there. Nowadays, there’s no tiger but there’s still fearful and stressful situations and the adrenalin response kicks in. Continued high adrenalin can lead to high blood pressure, strokes and heart attacks.
But what I’m thinking of is more the emotional response. For seven month or so we’ve been on high alert. Social distancing: had you ever heard of that before the corona virus? Masks. Wash your hands. It’s posted on every doorway and in practically every bathroom. Don’t shake hands, don’t hug (What does a hug feel like?). And slowly we’re becoming a little lax.
We don’t know how much longer this will last. We do know that it’s supposed to get worse with the flu hitting, school starting and indoor gatherings in cold weather. Sounds like we should be more vigilant rather than less. But Oh. Ho hum.
And then we read the statistics: more covid positives this week than ever before. More deaths. Worldwide. And yes, right in our own counties and communities. Somehow we’ve got to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and remain vigilant. We’ve got to fight against that word that I can’t remember. Can you help me out? What is the word that I wanted to use for a title for this piece?