The world is a frightening place. I am always afraid, afraid that the commissioned oil painting of my sister and mom running together means I am not actually the favorite child, afraid that my Beanie Baby collection isn’t worth thousands of dollars, despite what my 1998 official handbook suggests and afraid of somehow becoming a cat lady because frankly, felines intimidate me. Talk about being a scaredy cat.
As a blogger, the thought butchering the English language in front of the critical eyes of the blogosphere also strikes fear into my heart. I already know that I most likely harbor many flagrant misunderstandings about the language. This became especially apparent in college. The dorms were each equipped with a peer health adviser who not only distributed band aids, Advil and condoms, but also decorated the bathrooms with educational health articles. One week, the topic was “What does your sleep position say about you?” Now I’m a pseudo woman of science not a woman of pseudoscience, so I felt inclined to ignore this article and the hocus pocus it propagated. But, just as I can’t resist reading my daily horoscope in the paper — my Gemini dual personality can make me somewhat of a hypocrite — I couldn’t help but read the health report.
At the top of the article was a diagram depicting different sleeping positions (see right.) As I glanced over the illustration, I noticed “fetal” labeled under the first position. I love finding printed spelling and grammar errors (which is why I deliberately scrutinize every page of Chinese restaurant menus) so I was feeling pretty smug. “Fetal,” I thought to myself. “Someone did not proofread th..the the hell?!?!”
It had dawned on me. For the past ten years, I had incorrectly referred to the curled up human form as the “weedle position.” You know, like the bug Pokemon. (I do realize that I referenced Pokemon in my last post but I can assure you, it’s purely coincidental and not at all reflective of a secret obsession.) However seeing the labeled position on the chart, I could clearly see the connection between the fetal position and a fetus’s positioning.
In my defense, it’s a perfectly reasonable misconception. As you can see from my scientific diagram, the weedle’s curvature is highly reminiscent of the fetal position’s form. It’s therefore entirely feasible that a Pokemon was named after a bodily position, a position named “weedle.” Can’t you also imagine someone rocking back and forth in the “fetal” position, quietly chanting “weedle, weedle, weedle”? No? Just me? Then, can I also point out that “weedle” and “fetal” are practically homophones, which could be another source for my confusion? Come on…wee-dle…fe-tal. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if other people make this mistake.
If I messed up weedle…I mean fetal position, who knows how many other words I’m unintentionally mutilating? I’m terrified of unavoidable future language fouls.
On another note, I am now also in the market for new friends. I obviously can’t trust any of my old friends, who were either too cruel, too dumb or too indifferent to correct me and for ten years, allowed me to get away with, “Saw II was so scary that I spent two hours in the weedle position!” So, if you have an above average command of the English language and aren’t afraid to show it, feel free to apply to be my friend. The position starts off as an unpaid internship, with potential for full-time employment and compensation in the form of Beanie Babies.