Saturday, October 20, 2007

"here come my night thoughts on crutches" - c simic

There I was wide awake in the middle of the night with jetlag. My husband was beside me and my thoughts drifted to snore remedies, to pharmaceutical solutions, to side effects, to accidental death to manslaughter, at least the word manslaughter.

What a weird word: the (unpremeditated) slaughter of man. Weird that when the victim is a person, (man)slaughter is 2nd degree murder. When the victim is a cow, slaughter is a side of beef.

Also weird is the idea of involuntary manslaughter. Tell me a word with more aggression and willfulness packed in than slaughter. Massacre comes close, but the “aw” in slaughter slows it down, making it more graphic and tripling the evil! Say someone runs a light and hits a man, fatally. Would we say the driver slaughtered the man? That would be provoking the jury.

Also weird is that involuntary manslaughter can be bloodless as well an unintentional. Like dropping the blowdryer in the bathtub. Like a pharmaceutical side effect.

But the weirdest thing about manslaughter, which gave me the creeps lying in bed wide awake with jetlag, is how broken up and apostrophed it becomes man’s laughter.

Which is usually involuntary.

1 comment:

michi said...

love this post.
hope you got some sleep. involuntary or not.

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