Friday, August 18, 2006

It's all about the stories

I have a theory that most people have 5 or 6 really good stories. (You know the kind of thing, my auntie for example shook hands with Bobby Kennedy the day he was shot which by anyone's reckoning is a pretty good story.)

When you first start having a relationship you sit up late at night telling your stories to each other and it's great. After a while however you know the other person's stories so you reproduce so you can have someone else to tell your stories to. Then when you have your little tribe you tell each other your stories again and again and it sort of reinforces the family unit.

The cornerstone of medical diagnosis is listening to other people's stories (taking a history in the medical parlance). As an old Prof. of mine once said "Listen to the patient and they'll tell you the diagnosis." One of the real privileges of being a doctor is that you get to hear stories from all sorts of different people. An old lady in her 80s once related to me her story of being an unmarried mother in the 1930s which was so moving.

Our world view is also informed by stories. After 9/11 we heard all sorts of harrowing and moving stories which made us connect and sympathise with the victims and their familes. We hear less from Tyre and Rwanda and Darfur etc etc and perhaps that's why we are able to countenance some of the things happening there.

The question is how early in your blogging career do you introduce your real bazooka stories, given that we all have a limited number? I will ponder that for a while longer.

Meanwhile I saw this on yourdictionary which was quite interesting I thought...

Today's Word: Librocubicularist (Noun)Pronunciation: [li-bro-kew-'bik-yu-lĂȘ-rist]
Definition 1: One who does something with books in the bedroom-not someone who necessarily reads in bed.
Usage 1: Today we are sending out a warning of a lexical virus spreading across the Internet. Someone with a smattering of Latin and English has concocted this word and is palming it off as a legitimate compound meaning "someone who reads in bed." English, of course, is full of words that began illegitimate and ended up respectable members of our vocabulary. This one may, too, but so far it hasn't: be wary.
Suggested Usage: If you were to use today's word, be sure to read the etymology first. It does not mean someone who reads in bed but someone who does something with a book in a bedroom. If we allow this word into our language, let us at least demand that it means the sum of the meanings of its parts. We recommend you avoid using this cheap substitute in word's clothing.
Etymology: Today's ostensible word is a fanciful combination from Latin liber "book" and cubiculum "bed chamber," so the actual meaning would be "book-bedroomist," not "someone who reads in bed" as is commonly claimed by those out of the know. This word could be used as appropriately to refer to some who publishes books from his bedroom or eats them there. English does not normally allow more than two Latin or Greek stems in a borrowed or created compound (medical terminology excepted). So there are several reasons why this word is not found in any dictionaries. (Thanks to Zack Smith of Johnson City, Tennessee for alerting us to the spread of today's pseudo-word.)

Any ideas about what you could do with books in a bedroom (as opposed to any other sort of room) gratefully received.


Billy said...

You could read to a sick person or small child in bed.

You could sit in a chair and read yourself. Best done in a shaft on sunlight.

Can't think of anymore. It's a good word though.

goatman said...

Since books have variable thicknesses, a proper one could be used as a shim under one leg of the bed to steady or secure the bed in a reasonably horizontal position. This becomes necessary when you have a really goofy floor, prone to undulation.

cello said...

I really do use a book under my head on the bedroom floor to do Alexander Technique. Anna Karenina is just the right thickness, funnily enough.

Anyone reading this who has actually met me will now be doing that tea-shooting thing out of their eyes that Tim wrote about.

cello said...

My son also uses books in his bedroom to make a large enclosed area in which he can let out his gerbil, Monty.

realdoc said...

Hmm good ideas I particularly like the gerbil enclosure.
I wish I hadn't confessed to Anna Karenina now I feel like a proper thickie I have read War and Peace honest. (except all the stuff about freemasons which I sort of skimmed)

realdoc said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Peg said...

Well, a book could be used as a miniature slant board, no? And is it not true that we all sort of eat a book when we consume the material within? ;-0}

Neato I say, stopped in from goatman's path and ended up here.

By the way, the picture of the lady you have 'coined' as a doctor? Well, there is a lady I know who looks exactly like that and she is in fact an optical techy....close!! ;-0}
Enjoyed your story. :-0}

chatterbox said...

My kids have used books in their bedroom (and mine) as ramps for their remote control cars - they make a great adjustable launch pad for those spectacular jumps.

Word verification 'eydux' is this related to the tea shooting thing?

realdoc said...

It is actually possible to shoot tea out of your eyes, well tear ducts actually, but I wouldn't think it would be very comfortable.
BTW if you have grommets you can blow up balloons with your ears.
from your unofficial medical correspondent.

annie said...

Re: telling stories - ah, so that's why people have kids! Thanks for clearing that one up.

'Your dictionary' seems a bit hoity-toity. English is not a very logical language anyway (look at the word 'cleave' for example, meaning 2 opposite things simultaneously). I applaud the person who found it necessary to invent a word for 'someone who reads in bed'.

Molly Bloom said...

Oooh, there are always more can always dig up more dirt. You just have to do the dirt in dribbles you know. No gushing all at once!

Auntie Molly says, 'Don't squash your's naughty'

surly girl said...

eats them there?


am i missing something here?

*wishes was cleverer*

realdoc said...

No surly girl I think they do mean really eats them. High fibre anyway.

Australopithecus said...

best use of books in the bedroom when you have spent all semester goofing off instead of studying, use the book as a pillow, it is believed that the information inside will magically transfer into your brain...i havent tried it, dont want to risk spondylitis for piddling end sem exam.

raincoaster said...

I'm never, ever shaking hands with your aunt.

There's a Canadian who can squirt milk out of his eyes, but he has to snort it first.

And I say, post your stories whenever you feel like it. When you run out, just make shit up. You could get a job at The New Republic!

Urban Chick said...

tell us your bazooka stories NOW!

(you can always make some more up - given it's the interweb, we'd never know any different)


Maximus said...

Loving the blog - although sorry I haven't made any comments before now, but have been buried in pureed Butternut Squash. By the way has anyone seen the Ballad of Jack and Rose - what was that ending about - it was just so unnecessary - it should have finished when she got in the boat - and is it really just a matter of taste? - I hope not, that would be kind of sad - long live idealism.

Sharon J said...

You could use books in the bedroom for decoration. A pile of them on the bedside table gives potential lovers the impression that you're a clever, readerly type person.

That's you're as in one, not as in you personally, of course.

Ruminari said...

Simply because the word does not literally translate to "one who reads in bed" does not mean that is an inappropriate definition. Words in any language (certainly including English!) change meanings over time. If the common usage of the word is used to mean "one who reads in bed" then that is a true definition.