When a non-English speaking person appears in an Indiana courtroom the judge can call the Indiana Supreme Court hotline and get access to a certified translator. But what can we do when the words spoken by others do not fit into one of the world’s 6,500 languages?
When one watches mothers with babies it is obvious the babies feel the unquestioned love. However, as we age meanings get fuzzier. Mothers might urge general cautions to young children then threaten unspecified mayhem to teenagers.
Grandmothers may impart gentle lessons on useful crafts while grandfathers might impress grandchildren with stories that could be true.
As to fathers, many children are left to decipher what is meant by a grunt or a pointed index finger.
In elementary school we get direct teachings on such important life lessons as where and how to line up our things and how not to bother the things of others.
In junior high school teachers help us to face the unwelcome realization we are not as cute as we thought. And in high school it slowly begins to sink in that not only are we not cute, but we might even be required to do some work. However, it is in college where we are made to understand that what we say is usually not treasured by others.
Should you have been sentenced to participate in athletics at any level, your coaches most likely considered shouted invective a proper means of communication. And if you ever went through basic training in the military you are probably still laboring under a cloud of expletive ladened non-explanations for completing completely worthless tasks.
Those of you who, as was I, were reared in some religion may have often been mystified by lessons rolled into parables or analogies. Of course, that was more comfortable than the threats of eternal damnation.
In contemporary life we may find it difficult to communicate with other groups. For example, older people may hear gibberish spoken by the young and simply write them off as spoiled. On the other hand, the young may simply write the old off as old.
When politicians speak it is often to portray their opponents as liars or corrupt while the news media makes no effort to analyze any complicated issue. To take guidance from either of these groups is to proceed without a safety net.
I am not sure what advertisers want me to buy. It used to be some normal person would sing a little ditty such as, “You deserve a break today”, and I would pull into McDonald’s. Now when I watch TV I have no clue what I am supposed to waste my money on.
Movies are no longer, “Your best entertainment”. When Dirty Harry said, “Go ahead, make my day”, I got it. However, when the hero or heroine of a movie is a machine run amok, I might as well have saved the twenty bucks it cost for a Coke and popcorn.
But now that you have struggled to almost the end of these examples of non-communication, the ultimate human foreign language must be mentioned, Female Speak. I ask you, why can’t wives simply say what they mean? What occurred in the Garden of Eden to render asunder understanding between the sexes? One example is all I have space left for.
You may have noticed it is spring. Well, so has Peg. And when spring arrives at JPeg Ranch communication between Peg and me exits as the hummingbirds and onion sets appear.
I ask you, Gentle Reader, is it a felony to lie on the couch on Saturday morning? When Peg mumbles under her breath, “The garden looks like it needs tilling”, how am I supposed to gain from that she wants me to immediately drop my coffee and attack the unoffending soil?
How about, “Jim, would you please till the garden?” I would have got that; a daylong period of icy silence would have been unnecessary.