Wednesday, May 13 2015

…and the Trigger you rode in on

Greek and Roman Mythology now too upsetting for students at Columbia, as the “trigger warning” game jumps a dozen flaming sharks.

The next person who attempts the “trigger warning” game in my presence will receive a heaping helping of verbal macroaggressions. Their abuse of psychological jargon had already gone way too far, but they’ve gotten away with it because the rest of us were socialized into Western Civilization. No more for me.

The difference between real triggers and “shutting up anyone you disagree with” is that real triggers are specific, as any therapist will tell you. I know, because for several years after my apartment building burned down in the middle of the night, and I had to run toward the fire to safety, the smell of burning wood sent my heart-rate through the roof. But only at night, only when it was unexpected, only when I was home.

There’s still a faint twitch when it happens, well over 20 years later, so whenever I fire up the smoker, I’m careful to throw the clothes in the washer and take a shower before bedtime. And I always pay attention to the sound of fire trucks and the smell of neighborhood grilling.

But I love to grill and smoke, and I love to watch a fireplace. You can’t trigger me by talking about fire or showing me pictures of a house burning. Or by making me read about Prometheus.