Monday, September 5, 2011

If You Can Read This...

First off, let me say that I HATE being sick.  This is one of those weird colds too.  I don't feel particularly snotty or stuffy, and my coughing is at a minimum.  However, I can't seem to get enough sleep.  I wake up with a sore throat, and the rest of the day all I can think of is getting back in bed.  My brain can barely handle reading, meaning the 50 pages left of my 700 page book are going to have to wait and the t.v. is on way more than I'd like it to be.  I'm having trouble getting work done, and doing something as simple as washing dishes leaves me utterly exhausted.

That said, I am more of a look-on-the-bright-side type of person, and while there's a lot that I do not like about being sick, there's one thing that isn't so bad.  I've been tired, I've spiked fevers, and everything I do feels like I'm doing it with 20 pound weights attached.  This also means that I've been sweating...a lot.  Basically, even though I've been eating terribly because it's too difficult to prepare a proper meal, and I have barely done a thing, I've lost two pounds this week.  Not that I feel this is the healthiest way to lose weight.  I'd much rather be running or swimming.  However, it's nice to know that's one thing I don't have to worry about.  Phew!

If You Can Read This...

Hans and I saw this bumper sticker the other day
 I have to say, I get really annoyed with this bumper sticker.  Before you get angry, let me explain.  First off, disregard the first part.  If you can read that, then, yes, you should thank a teacher.  The second part, though, irks me because it's not exactly historically accurate.

Back in the beginning
If you're really interested in history, here's a bit of info you might not have known.  The United States' national language was almost German.  Back in the days when the U.S.A. was just a baby, many people HATED the British.  They wanted nothing to do with the Brits.  They didn't even want to speak the same language.  Many people in that time also spoke French and/or German (if they were truly civilized), but our relationship with France was just budding, and for a long time it hadn't been so great either.  Germany didn't seem like such a bad place, and I guess some people really liked the German language.  It came down to a vote, and English one out.  So, one could argue that "If you can read this in English, thank a founding father."  Of course, we're forgetting something very important here as well.

 Who spoke English before we did?  The people in England, of course!  It was the British who colonized America, and the British who colonized India, and the British who colonized Hong Kong and Canada and Australia and all sorts of other places throughout the world.  If they hadn't gone to every continent and made their mark, English never would have become so common.  Don't believe me?  Travel to Asia.  

On a trip that Hans and I made to Asia back in '05, we traveled to Tokyo, Okinawa, Seoul, Beijing, and Hong Kong.  In Tokyo, we stayed at Camp Zama, a U.S. Army base, and in Seoul we stayed at a YMCA.  At Camp Zama, unless the person was American, they didn't speak English.  In other words, the employees (cleaning crew, food service, etc.) spoke limited to no English.  At the YMCA...forget about it.  No English speakers there.  However, when we traveled to Hong Kong, a place that Britain ruled until 1998, over 50% of the people spoke English.  Oh, and there were a lot of familiar companies such as Starbucks, McDonald's, and KFC.  

Not to Disregard the Soldiers
Now then, all that said, I don't want to make light of a soldier's work.  I could very easily argue that if it hadn't been for soldiers during WWII, we could be speaking German or Japanese or Italian.  I could argue that soldiers have kept their countries safe and, because of both American and British soldiers, English is STILL spoken.  Of course, if we were currently speaking Italian, I'd probably be reading this bumper sticker as "If you can read this in Italian thank a soldier" or "Se lei può leggere questo in inglese, ringrazia un soldato."  (If you do speak Italian, and this translation is wrong, please forgive me.)  

Basically, what I'm trying to say is that there are a lot of reasons why we speak and read in English, and a soldier certainly isn't the only one.  Oh, and as for the thanking a teacher part, you could also thank your eye doctor for your glasses, God for the ability to see, your parents for encouraging your ability to read.  The list goes on and on.


  1. love your blog valerie! i REALLY hope you feel better soon. im one who is always sick and when im sick its always big like i have everything wrong with me. My whole body hurts and i cant move. So I can understand what your going through I just hope it goes away quick for you.

  2. Thanks Brandy Lee!! I'm sorry you're sick so often, but it's nice to have someone who understands. :)

  3. ummmm interesting BUT as a military wife I think you are missing the point. I don't think it was meant to be taken that literal. I get the history etc. but too many people forget that our freedom is not free. It cost many soldiers their lives and we could be living in a much more restricted society without their sacrifice, speaking English or another language. I really think it is just a reminder of ALL the great freedoms we have in society. Just my 2 cents.

  4. Jenn, I definitely appreciate this thought, and if I thought the majority of people actually thought that way (in an intelligent manner) then this bumper sticker wouldn't bug me so much. However, many people simply seem to take this at face value, and that's not so great. If you want to remind people of ALL the freedoms we have why not the bumper sticker that says, "Got freedom? Thank the military?" I think that would work a lot better.