Deficient Noun Disease
Do you commonly find yourself calling your children by the wrong
name, and feel like kicking yourself for spending so much time
selecting just the right name for each child?
Do you find yourself saying to your child, "Sure, I know where
you left your cookie." It's on the long white horizontal surface
in the kitchen... you know, the one with the thing we cook with
on one end and the thing we put stuff into keep it cold on the
other end? Um... there's a sink in it?"
Do you tell people on the phone that you'll be happy to take a
message, just as soon as you find a "message-writing-down thingamabob?"
In fact, do all the nouns in your vocabulary, nouns which have
been your friends and companions since you were two years old,
suddenly become "thingies" when you are under pressure? You may
be suffering from deficient noun disease.
Deficient noun disease, or DND, is a common affliction among
mothers of small children (older children too). While not a
dangerous illness, DND is an exasperating and frustrating one
which increases in severity in direct proportion to the number
of children in the household.
Common symptoms of DND include the following: Calling children
by each other's names, forgetting the proper names for common
household objects, and casually referring to other adults not
as "John and Jane" but as "those people with the pool who barbecue
every Friday." Another common symptom is the frequent use of the
WRONG noun in a given situation, rather like mild aphasia. Someone
with this particular type of DND might say, "Put your plate on
the stove...I mean on the counter... I mean ON THE TABLE!"
A less common symptom displayed by some DND sufferers is an
ailment also referred to as the "Crossword" Syndrome. With
this particular type of DND-related illness, the affected
person might declare, "Oh, yes, I know her name. Let's
see... it starts with an "S", has five letters...."
DND, although virtually untreatable and incurable, can still
be endured with a minimum of pain and embarrassment if the
afflicted person makes use of the following handy coping
One method of coping with the disease involves the clever use
of nicknames, which can easily apply to any individual in the
family, like "Dear" or "Sweetheart". This method breaks down
when the DND sufferer is faced with the necessity of
differentiating between individuals, or when she is talking
to several people at one time, so the use of group nicknames,
like referring to everyone in the room as "Y'all", a common
Southern coping mechanism, is recommended.
Another good way to conceal DND from your friends and family
members is to develop the habit of pausing in your sentences
when reaching a crucial noun. If the pause is long enough,
the other individual will attempt to guess the noun for you,
and you need only respond in the affirmative when the correct
noun is reached. Although this method may take time, it
certainly adds suspense to an otherwise ordinary conversation.
The information available on DND is still patchy and incomplete,
due to the unnecessary shame felt by many mothers who do not
realize that this illness is widespread and quite common. Very
few mothers are able to call their children by name, and it is
difficult for them to believe that the time invested in picking
out those names was, to put it bluntly, wasted. When education
has removed the stigma from the minds of all women, this
disease might very well be shown to be the most common
affliction in human history.
The cause of DND is not yet known; some scientists believe
that using a word over 100,000 times in the course of a
lifetime may simply fade that word from long-term memory;
mothers simply reach the lifetime limit earlier because
they must repeat themselves so often. Other scientists hold
up the two-year old child as proof positive that the
repetition of a word more than 100,000 times (in this
case, the word Mommy) does not cause selective noun amnesia.
Although modern science may never be able to cure DND or
discover what exactly causes it, we as mothers and fellow
sufferers can still help one another to recognize the
illness and learn to live in harmony with it. The next
time you hear yourself shouting,
YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE! GET IN HERE!", you can comfort
yourself with the knowledge that mothers all over the
world are doing the same thing.
[ Author Unknown -- from 'Aiken Drum' (AIKENSLongJoke@topica.com) ]
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