Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rachel Hedman: So I thought about poison one day. . .

A school teacher handed me a bunch of green-faced stickers, and each face had a disgusted look with a tongue stuck out.

I met Mr. Yuk. (Did you know that he has a theme song?)


I ran all over the house placing these "poison" stickers on various bottles and containers.

I had done my good deed for the day.

Except for getting "cool" stickers, there generally is not a good feeling connected to "poison".

Then, on Sunday, July 19, 2009 at 2:20pm I heard "the word".

I was sitting in Sunday School at the Johnson City Ward, TN of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The teacher said, "We feel poison for some issues." Then he followed that statement on how it was better to "sue for peace" than to react in violent ways.

What a way to put it.

So. . .what happens when one is poisoned?

First of all, there are many levels to poison.

A poison could be harmful or irritable or down-right toxic and fatal. The amount of exposure to the substance determines the degree of reactions. The body responds in violent ways.

The Sunday School teacher, when he said "we feel poison for some issues", could refer to the reactions we develop when we are mistreated. The natural way would be to "foam at the mouth" with insults or perhaps to "tremble and shake" in physical abuse.

Rather, the teacher encouraged us to "sue for peace". Resist the natural tendencies.

Though, the use of the word "sue" seems like an oxymoron of some kind. The first image is of the court and yelling lawyers and people crying. Does not seem peaceful to me.

So I had to look up the word "sue".

About 1200, the Anglo-French word "suer" meant "continue, persevere". Then came the Old French "sivre" and later "suivre" to mean "pursue, follow after".

If the "sue for peace" was changed to "pursue for peace", that would have a more positive reaction. Or even "pursue and persevere for peace".

I love alliteration.

Perhaps this change in the original phrase would make Mr. Yuk pull in his tongue.

By the way, Mr. Yuk comes from a long line of Public Service Announcements, and Mr. Yuk was only the first I would see while at East Tennessee State University.

On Saturday, July 25, 2009, I walked to and from the grocery store by the East Tennessee State University campus.

I noticed two signs (see them here):
  • "Click it or Ticket"
  • "Booze it and Lose it" (Lose your license, your freedom, your life.)
When I looked up "Public Service announcements", I noticed that most of these rhyme. The human mind tends to remember these sayings easier in this way. See a list of what I mean here.

Our eyes may search for these pleasures in words.

The "Click it or Ticket" campaign conducted a survey by the Public Opinion Strategies and discovered that 83% of 800 United States citizens have seen, read, or heard about it. As for results, the overall population using seat belts increased from 75% to 79%.

It is not enough for something to rhyme for people to remember. Often we desire--whether consciously or subconsciously--for phrases to come in threes. Notice the subheading of the "Booze it and Lose it" about the license, freedom, and life. Then, in addition to the three phrases, the first and last words start with the letter "l". There is a visual balance by using those letters. Of course, then you could mention the power of threes again, because "lose", "license", and "life" all start with "l".

Okay, so maybe this is strange to notice, but does it not make words aesthetically pleasing?

As for Mr. Yuk. . .he will always look disgusting! And he is loved nevertheless.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
(801) 870-5799

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