Have A Safe Holiday?
So I made a phone call to pay a bill yesterday. Just what I felt like doing. Gave my bank card number, the amount I wanted to pay, and the conversation came to a close… almost. Before hanging up the phone, the guy goes, “Have a Safe Holiday.” It was right then that I got this sick feeling in my stomach. It actually made me feel a bit irritated. Now, I’m sure you’re wondering what is wrong with me. Well, I’ll tell you.
It speaks to what I feel is a dehumanizing of experience – beginning with language. The removal of any sense of emotion and feeling from the human experience. I’ll give you some examples of what I’m talking about. Let’s start with employment. The act of being fired. It’s no longer called getting “fired.” Joanna is a manager, and when she talks about firing someone, she doesn’t say “fired.” She says she “term’d” someone. It’s what the company calls it now. I had no idea what she meant when she said she had “term’d someone.” It must be their way of circumventing the whole “feeling upset” part for the employee. I don’t know. Maybe if you tell someone they’re “term’d,” then they won’t know what happened for a while. They’ll realize it on the way home, when it’s too late to stab. The problem then, for the employer, just works itself out. Kind of like in “Office Space,” when Milton just stopped recieving a paycheck. They never actually fired him. They just stopped paying him. Hoping the problem would just “work itself out.”
At McLane’s, if you look in the employee handbook, firing is referred to as a “separation of employment.” Ask the person who gets fired if they say, “Oh, I was separated from employment yesterday.” No, they say they got fired.
At McLane’s, we have this 800 number we’re supposed to call if we see any, as they called it in the meeting, “accounting improprieties.” Does that mean stealing? I mean, that’s my guess. I guess if I was talking to a robot, I’d use the term “accounting improprieties.” If I were talking to a sterile, lifeless cog in a wheel, I’d use that term.
Think back to Desert Storm. Or even the current situation in Iraq. When the troops come home and they’re extremely ill. What did Americans call it back in the Korean War, WWII, WWI? Shell Shock. No, it’s not Shell Shock anymore. Now they call it “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.” A disorder?? Think about all the men who’ve served their country and come home and receive nothing for treatment of their illnesses. Do they refer to it as a disorder?? You hear on the news about soldiers with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Maybe they’d be getting the treatment they really needed if we still called it “Shell Shock.”
The most important point I’m trying to make here is that with the dehumanizing of our language, our thought is controlled. A person’s ability to have abstract, original thought is directly related to that person’s grasp of the language they speak. Think about it. The only way you can think is through the use of words – language.
As your language is controlled, so are your thoughts. As the element of human emotion is stripped from your vocabulary, so is that essence of your soul. You become that sterile, lifeless cog. If anyone has read Orwell’s 1984, they would have a firm grasp of what I’m talking about.
And so, what does this have to do with having a “Safe Holiday?” Well, it does exactly what I’ve been talking about. It removes all elements of human emotion from the holiday experience. A safe holiday? What about a fun holiday? An awesome holiday? Maybe even, “Enjoy your holiday?” No. Have a Safe Holiday. Meaning: restrict your actions to such a degree so as that you are spending your time away from employment in such a way so as to preserve your body’s current condition, wherewith you shall continue to serve your life sentence of employment with this aforementioned establishment – or face separation of employment. There will be no leisure time activities which embody the façade of disorderly improprieties upon said premises.
Have a Safe Day!!!