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March 29, 2017

An Expression I've Come to Loathe [Warden]

An acquaintance of mine was recently diagnosed with cancer. As many people do today, he shared the news on Facebook so people outside his family and close friends would know what was going on with him. I always find this to be an awkward situation when I don't know someone well enough to pick up the phone and call, but do know them well enough to be saddened and concerned over the news.

Usually in these situations I'll either avoid commenting at all or tell the person that I'll pray for him and his family. And then, I always make sure that I follow through because I think it's an awful thing to just casually tell someone he'll be in your prayers when you don't really mean it.

I've spend more of my life as an agnostic than I have as a Christian and it's no big deal to me when other people don't pray, but there's a substitute expression that a lot of atheist/agnostic people fall back on that I positively despise: Sending good vibes your way.

The way I see it, if you think prayer is some sort of mystical hokum then how is it that you believe in "vibes" instead? What are these vibes? Can you see them? Can they be measured? And how, exactly, does one send them? Is it like ESP? Do you wave your fingers? Is there some sort of sacred incantation developed by the Celtic druids of yore?

See, here's what gets under my skin--I don't think that the people who write this line actually believe in vibes. It's a goofy, stupid idea, but they say it anyway because this grotesque, reproductive attempt at expressing belief in something greater and more powerful sounds good to them.

And so, yeah this is a get off my lawn moment, but goddamnit this world has enough phoniness in it without adding, in response to a man's likely death sentence, promises of such trite, nonsensical nature that there can't be any possible intention of keeping them.

I get it, it's awkward to respond sometimes. People want to say something kind and aren't sure how to go about it. But there are so many ways around that one phrase--"Thinking of you," for example, or "Please get well, we're all pulling for you."

Everything doesn't have to be an immediate, kneejerk, whatever-happens-to-come-to-mind response. There's room for pausing and giving thought to your words. And if there's ever a time to do it, it's when someone announces to you that his time of living may be very, very close to an end.

Related: Research reported in the Scientific Journal of No Freakin' Doy suggests that social media and shallow thinking may be linked.


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posted by Open Blogger at 08:30 PM

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