by Jim Collier
I had forgotten about the semiotic theory of relativity. (Most style manuals would capitalize this.) But relativistic semiotics, I gather, could describe the hurling of insults among post-modernists. I went with a post-moderness (er, suffix) in the 1980s for awhile and she hurled them like a girl. Arm straight up without bending her elbow. But boy, she could hurl them at a machine gun rate. This wasn’t just silly talk about leaving toilet seats up. It was things like, “Why, when we’re out with the [name of a married couple, she from USSR, he from Israel] and we go see a foreign film do you laugh before the subtitle is on the screen rather than letting [name of wife, who taught linguistics and spoke five languages all equally poorly] laugh first?” She was miles ahead of me in deciphering the meaning of insults and it did no good to think of defensive ploys because she had these covered, too. “You’ll probably let [wife] laugh first from now on and she’ll think you’re just being nice to her. Why are you always so insulting?” And then it would occur to me to let the wife laugh half the time, and the other half of the time, I’d get in whatever laugh I could manage. And she would anticipate even this. “You’ll probably let her laugh first some of the time, and she’ll see that you’re trying to manage the entire scenario. I’m on to you, and she’s on to you, too.”
I wanted my semiotician and me to be married. We were really good together working out my problems and you can’t have sex with your shrink.
This page was last updated April 1, 2004.