The Prairie Spy

Alan “Lindy” Linda

There is one thing for certain: You must watch what people do, not what they say. Words don’t jibe with actions. Here are some examples of words and phrases you should look out for.

“This won’t hurt.” It is often followed closely by the phrase: “You’re going to feel just a bit of pressure.” Often, the medical people who seem overly fond of these words will get bored with them after years of using them. Then they might say: “Just  a little prick coming.”

Then they nail you. They don’t call it a shot for nothing.Ohboyohboyohboy! Ouchouchouch! One leg raises up in the air. Both fists clench. You forget to breathe, you’re so enchanted with the sparklies bursting behind your eyelids.

There’s no prick coming. He or she has already arrived.

“I should have listened” is another phrase that most of us are familiar with. It’s used by you against you. It’s not much good, being as it happens after you did whatever you did. Sometimes it’s used against you by others: “You should have listened.” We never do. For one reason, listening to someone tell us that “this won’t hurt” has taught us to ignore most of the things other people tell us, until it’s too late.

Another bad one none of us wants to hear is someone else saying: “Ooops!” I heard this, standing in line the second day of Army basic training in Fort Bliss, Texas. (Now, naming something Bliss, there’s a misnomer. Burning sun, blowing sand, and physical torture. The guy who named this place was himself familiar with words that deceive.) In that line, as we passed along, we were given injections in both shoulders simultaneously by gorillas holding large, chrome, pneumatic air guns that drove who-knows-what into our arms. The guy ahead of me moved. The gun blew part of his skin onto my fatigue uniform. “Ooops,” said the gorilla.

“That should heal up fine” is another phrase no one wants to hear. It is often used by gorillas with needle guns and nurses who outweigh you. It is often triggered by the question: “Is this going to leave a scar?” Of one kind or another, for sure.

Up here in the northwest prairie, often heard is the word “Whatever.” It is used in place of “Okay,” “I guess so,” or “I don’t give a crap.” Example: Shall we go to town?

Answer: Whatever. (Substitute any of the above. The term “whatever” is an example of conservation of energy.) Medical people in particular are trained to never use this term. Picture it: The nurse asks: “Should I call the EMT’s?”  Dr. Doom replies: “Whatever.” That’s not good, doctors saying “whatever.”  In the event something goes wrong and EMT’s are needed, they use code words for this situation. Example: “Prepare an amalgram of therapeutic litigation sealant.” The assistant knows this is code for a combination of “ooops” and “whatever” and call the lawyer.

Finally, we’re down to one phrase. This one is always true. It’ll be familiar to most of us. The phrase is: “It’s always something.” Here are some examples of people who use this one. 

Gorillas giving injections with high-powered air guns.

People after the EMTs have left.

Plumbers who have not listened to the three rules of their trade: Crap runs downhill; payday’s on Friday; and don’t chew your fingernails.

Which of these is my favorite? The truth is, my favorites mostly have four letters and the newspaper won’t print them.