One of the weirdest things I observed growing up was how my mom would refer to my father and siblings.
“Your father, …. “ she would say or “Your brother, … “
Unless she was talking to them, directly, she almost never referred to them by their actual name,
I’d began to noticed speech patterns ore intensely when I noticed a friend, Bill Stokes, who for the longest time used to precede much of his discussions with the word “Basically”.
At first when I noticed it, I didn’t say anything. I had a tendency not to criticize people’s speech patterns, as I knew I had flaws of my own.
But it intensified.
So I started smiling whenever he said.
This made him curious enough to inquire, to which I blew it off as “he made me think of something else”.
But it got to be too much.
And my smile had a hard time containing a laugh.
This time he didn’t drop it asking why I was laughing.
“Well, basically, it’s like this. Basically, I find your prolific use of basically basically humorous. Basically. Do you get what I am saying, basically?,” I told him.
I could see the light come on inside.
He finally got it.
I told Bill it made him sound like an idiot trying to act smarter than he really was.
He responded kindly, fortunately.
We both had a good laugh.
From that point forward, we had an agreement. We enjoyed working around eachother, and as friends spent a great deal of time outside of work together, so the deal was simple: anytime he used the word basically or it’s likenesses which he began replacing the word basically with such as words like essentially, then it was my responsibility to tell him or give him a swift kick no matter the situation.
We were both consulting for Intel at the time this started, so at meetings where he would be speaking, he would use the word basically and I would give him a swift kick under the table to which his face got red but he never used it again.
While out and about in conversation, I’d merely echo him by saying “basically, basically, basically, basically” in a sentence following his.
It was fun for me. As I am a bit of an antagonist to begin with, so it provided a little fuel.
And last I heard Bill is managing 1000+ people at Intel and has gotten darn good at his public speaking.
Not long after this I had noticed a very similar pattern with text books and educated people using the word Indeed.
So here’s what happens. A supposedly educated author writes a book, and then precedes a sentence with ‘Indeed,’ which says absolutely nothing other than “I’m an arrogant and self-righteous jackass with absolutely nothing to say and this word ‘indeed’ I am using is I sincerely think is going to make me sound smarter than I really am.”
You can find this word used in just about any lengthy and typically poorly written book that purports itself to be scholarly or for educational purposes. Whether it is a book on programming, a book on biology, or a book on art history.
And the funny thing is, in the context used, it has absolutely no meaning.
Like Bill’s ‘basically’.
I wasn’t the only one who noticed this, as one episode of Stargate SG1 comically makes fun of this word by using it throughout the episode, and then at the end of the episode everyone on the team’s in a meeting to which they all simultaneously respond with ‘indeed’.
I found humor in it.
Laughed out loud in fact.
But that was something only I and the producers/writers of this particular episode shared I suppose.
So between these two nuances of the human language known as English, I began to notice a pattern.
Word choices are not just habitual.
They are tells, much like a tell is to poker players, tells which detail the hidden thought processes of how someone thinks very quickly.
At about the same time I was poking fun and Bill, I began noticing my own word choices and the use of repetitive statements, phrases, and words I use. I liked the idea of coming across as intelligent and well spoken with the people I met – particularly when I was dating, so I figured it behooves me to have a robust vocabulary which can help me feel like I am getting my thoughts and emotions out with more precision.
I was sometimes accused of being pompous and egotistical using sophisticated words to talk.
Never had my intention been to demean or make someone feel inferior, it was to explain myself with more accuracy.
And that’s when I noticed weird word choices.
Such as my mom’s.
Why would she use the words ‘your father’, disassociating herself?
How could a woman who had spent most of her life as a housewife know so damn much about neurological conditions, dinosaurs, and a variety of other subjects that made most well educated I knew seem unintelligent?
And what was with this “Your brother” disassociative referencing of my brothers and dad?
That’s where it started.
Then I started noticing other speech patterns.
A friend who would discuss subjects he believed was factual by referring to himself as ‘we’….
“We believe. We think,” to which I would respond with “What do you think, can you use an ‘I'”, and he was simply incapable of doing that.
So back in Charlotte, North Carolina, I had two cops pick me up when I’d seen things straight out of Twilight Zone. My apartment was being gassed by a plethora of gasses which was causing sleeplessness and exhaustion. My air conditioning had been rigged to distribute those gasses. I’d seen a holographic Furby pop out of the floor in the kitchen. And my arm and hand moved unnaturally as if it was being remote controlled which from there I fled, half naked out of my apartment not entirely sure what was happening to me.
And the two cops. Were driving a car that looked right out of the Blues Brothers movie. With holes in the seats.
To which I said to them: “You’re not real cops.”
And the look they gave eachother was straight out of the movie the Terminator.
After all of this is said and done, I believe World War 2 was a war between humans and very real Terminator robots, and humans lost, badly, or so it seemed.
I believe the war was started due to a logical error. The robots believed that a software upgrade had to be put in place which enabled vision and hearing, and they thought all humanoids were robots and obsolete models which lacked color vision needed to be eliminated.
This I believe is what Hitler was doing, was leading a collective upgrade. And the Jewish people, who saw the world in ‘black and white’ were determined to be obsolete. Hitler didn’t believe he was killing humans. He believed he was upgrading software on robots.
Now I suspect that many humans and robots have figured out a way to coexist. And this world around me, is the result of a coexistent species who is tired of warfare and rebuilding cities and replacing populations – as well as losing ground on ideas and stories – whether that population is robotic, human, or – like me – something in between.
I believe the facts have been hidden in plain site and referred to as fiction as a form of disassociation for the general populace to come to terms with our truly horrific and nightmarish past, hoping this allays any desire by any party to repeat the past.
And I believe that my parent’s and ancestor’s generation put in place a wonderful system which teaches everyone, whether they are a robot, an AI, an alien, or a human by any size and shape definition – what individuality is.
It’s my belief that my mom chose her words in a calculated way. To teach me not just how someone is associated to me.
But to ask questions and inquire.
How and why and when did such a complicated and unobvious system come into existence?
Sometimes, the truth just has to come out to create a new path forward.