I Can’t Speak Human

I used to frustrate my mother, and she used to frustrate me–according to her–when I was still a child, just having grasped the barest tolerance of spoken language.  I would ask for things, make wild gesticulations in a near panic, but while my mind was consumed in heat my tongue would never heed me, and I would prove completely incapable of explaining myself.  If I wanted something from the high shelf, I would apparently point, jump around, and utter a strange assembly of terms as if with great strain, and as my mother strained to interpret my bizarre language, I would throw my hands up in the air in indignant resignation and away altogether and at once from the kitchen.

She thought it was amusing.

It was amusing.

It’s strange how I feel like nothing ever changes.   Thirty-two years old now.  I’m widely read; I’m fluent in three languages; and I’ve a degree in English.  You’d think my communication skills would be peerless, but somehow that never bears out.

I’m going to mention now that I tend to be better in text than in person–not all the time but very frequently–but even in text I find that while I can communicate in perfectly functional and even sometimes–eloquent–English, nevertheless there’s no-one that can understand me.  It’s almost as if you managed to teach English to a cat, with all the lexicon, grammar, syntax, and phonology that entails.  But you wouldn’t get English as you understood it.  It would be all “Monkey banana raffle.”  The creature’s frame of reference is different, very different; so it wouldn’t matter.

I used to have a very hard and stringent understanding of English.  At the end of high school, thanks to a set of severe English teachers, I was perfectly equipped for the job.  But when I started delving into Greek and Latin, a whole different world opened up before me.  It isn’t merely that they’re different languages, but they come from a very, very distant time, and all their idioms and references are altogether different.  But I saw the potential in what they had to offer, realized that the narrow set of severe guidelines for English were largely style–nothing more–and that I could use the language in a more fluid style if I supposed.  Consider that word order, thanks to Greek’s case system, isn’t terribly important, whereas we use it in English to actually denote case.  By being a little clever with punctuation and the nature of the verb used, I got away with a much more free-form sentence structure.

But I feel like I’m missing the point.  This really only exacerbated my difficulties.

I must have read Nietzsche for the first time when I was sixteen.  It was liberating.  I’d lived in Massachusetts, one of those liberal hell-holes that demand the sort of group think that makes suicide someone preferable.  Nietzsche is many things, but the first of them is rejection.  It was encouraging to have another voice, the voice of a dead white man, expressing that things didn’t need to be this way.  I attempted to deprive myself of my ingrained morals and expectations and live the life of something else.  I thought I was travelling vertically, but in reality I was moving laterally.  I wasn’t escaping by escaping the atmosphere, instead I had found myself lost in the wilderness with all my references much more than inverted.

I prefer to have my feet on the ground anyways.

People are weak; people do ugly things.  There is more kindness and sincerity in the hungry eyes of a lion than the blank stares and empty souls of progressives come claiming to help you.

How am I ever going to turn this into something tight and on topic?

Should I even bother?

–Madsen