Wednesday, July 7, 2012

I’m back! My brother’s wedding was lovely. The bride was/is beautiful. The weather was just right. It was a grand day and there will be pictures and stories later this week (I still have to write about Ottawa, oops).

But today, today is Wednesday and this Wednesday is brought to you by the idiom “(to) have a screw loose”. Let us begin.

From Online Etymology Dictionary:

“To have a screw loose “have a dangerous (usually mental) weakness” is recorded from 1810.

A new source, Neatorama, has this to say:

Meaning: Something is wrong with the person or mechanism. Origin: The phrase comes from the cotton industry and dates back as far as the 1780s, when the industrial revolution made mass production of textiles possible for the first time. Huge mills sprang up to take advantage of the new technology (and the cheap labor), but it was difficult to keep all the machines running properly; any machine that broke down or produced defective cloth was said to have “a screw loose” somewhere.

I searched a few other sources and they all run about the same; stating that “to have a screw loose” is be eccentric or crazy. Then I decided to Google for images. That was a-whole-nother adventure . There were some very graphic, slightly disturbing images of the human brain with various hunks of metal sticking out it; more pictures of Lady Gaga (poor dear, her mother is quoted as saying Gaga has a screw loose); a few interesting memes; the standard nuts and bolts and a variety of machines, etc.

Apple Jack has three little apples on her flank and comes with comb, pet puppy and saddle basket for collecting apples on her family farm.

The biggest surprise was images from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. For those of you not familiar with My Little Pony, they are a line of plastic pony toys that have had several reincarnations since their debut in the 1980s. The ponies have unique symbols on their flanks that depict an image connected with their names.

Names like Apple Jack and Fluttershy. Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie. There’s Apple Bloom and Silver Spoon. Don’t forget Trixie and Nightmare Moon (just a little rhyme, to help pass the time…heehee). Apparently, there is also pony called Screw Loose (no rhyme here).

Screw Loose is wearing a hospital gown, hospital sleepers and features a lone screw on the flank.

Note the lone screw that is not attached to anything; being a loose screw.

This is not the only thing that sets Screw Loose apart. Watch the video to see Screw Loose in action.

I admire the artistry in the pony’s crazed and unfocused eyes. The security pony chasing Screw Loose shouting “Hey, get back to the hospital!” is all rather amusing and I cracked a smile because its funny. A pony that barks? With those facial expressions? That’s silliness that pays homage to Looney Toons.

Of course, from an advocate stand point I think it’s best to admit that cartoons are not the best way to introduce children (or the normies) to mental health. The media is not known for it’s gentle treatment of mental health issues, language or the individual who suffer with them, as pointed out in Otto F. Wahl’s Media Madness:

Quoted from Media Madness: Public Images of Mental Health Illness by Otto F. Wahl, 2003. Available from Amazon.

Words hold so much power. Like I said in the first Word Wednesday “Words have the power to build a person up. To encourage and enrich our lives. To better our world. Words also have the power to damn and destroy a person. To deflate and suppress their hopes and dreams. To crush the growth of the human race.” How we use those words as a culture and how we introduce them to our children will impact the treatment of future generations of mental health patients. I’m torn between being able to laugh at ourselves (an important tool in any healing process) and the simple expectation of being treated with respect and dignity regardless of one’s health status (also important in one’s steps to wellness as Wahl points out).

What do you think readers? Is Wahl (and part of me) over reacting to the media’s use of derogatory terms when describing mental health? Or are we both being oversensitive? I’d like to hear from you.

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About Holly

I hope you're able to glean something from this blog, a nugget of wisdom, a new perspective, a smile or even a laugh. I enjoy getting feedback so please comment, share your story with me too. After all, we're here to help each other.
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