Wednesday, August 17, 2011

sometimes you feel like a nut

Today's Jezebel piece, When Everyone Things Your Deadly Allergy is Just a Fad is interesting, thought not surprising. Bullying people who are different? Who would have ever guessed?!

Let me just stop for a moment and point out that peanuts are not technically nuts, but legumes. I do this not to be snide, but as an interest counterpoint to some of the rather nasty commentators who are venting their frustrations about how they do not believe people should be able to use the word "allergy" if they need/want to avoid a food.

Those of us throwing around the American Standard English, engage in slang, abbreviations, slight-means and bastardizations all the time. We also change how we talk depending on who we are talking to/with.

I do not go around saying PEANUTS ARE LEGUMES, YOU ARE LYING, YOU ARE LEGUME-ALLERGIC! I know what people mean, and more importantly, food prepares, packagers and servers know the shorthand and common misnomers that people use to describe those who go into anaphylactic shock if they consume Arachis hypogaea.

I have mentioned before that I often will use "gluten allergic" to quickly expedite explanation and ordering at restaurants - especially now in Massachusetts, where the new allergy bill has passed. I have found that "I have celiac disease, an auto-immune disorder that makes me intolerant to gluten" is way too many words, confusing, and rarely gets the point across in a fast-paced restaurant and kitchen. Its also a lot easier to tell a friend without having to go into hand-puppetry of intestinal linings. (Oh you know I make villi with my fingers)

So, in light of the fact that even when people use the term "allergic" people still don't believe him/her, I think we have a bigger problem than who can or should be using the term. Why is the default response that people are lying, wanting attention or hypochondriacs?

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