Why are there toasters flying across that computer screen? If your immediate answer is “…to prevent screen burn in,” this marks you as a techie of a certain age. If you answered, “…cuz they’re cool,” this marks you as a non-techie of a certain age. If you answered “huh? I’ve never seen toasters flying across my screen,” this marks you as too young to know much of anything about computer history.
I am reminded again today that words matter. The words we choose to describe or explain make a difference. My friend Mandy published a piece yesterday about the word ‘partner’. There was a time when partner most often referred to a business or law partnership. While partnership was never the most common form of business ownership (that would be sole proprietorship) I see little if any evidence that business partnerships have become passe. But it is true that often these days gay people use the word partner to refer to their spouses. I myself never cared for this usage. Many years ago I lived with a guy in the Boston area whom I thought of and referred to as my “boy friend”. He was rather adamant that we should instead refer to each other as partners. It turned out to be a moot argument however since the relationship did not last very long.
Sometimes it seems to me that gay people have already won everything but the term “marriage”. When Ron was in the hospital to have surgery, the hospital staff treated me like they would any other family member. When the operation was done the surgeon came out and told us it had gone well and we were sitting at his bedside when he woke up. My previous employer, before I retired, treated us it seemed to me much the same as they did heterosexual employees. And since we don’t in fact want to be married (though I strongly support full marriage rights for gay people who want them) it seems to me as though the fight is just down to the word itself. And then I hear from friends who live in other parts of this country or other parts of the world, who continue battling to obtain their civil rights and I worry that the battle may never be really over.
PS–if the toast is burnt it was because someone set the slider in the After Dark program all the way to the dark end 🙂