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A Procedure

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A Procedure

The conveyance of information without details…


Whenever someone tells you they are having ‘a procedure’ you know full-well they are referring to an upcoming surgery they have scheduled. They want you to know that they are having the surgery, but they don’t want to be questioned, regarding the details thereof. If they had wanted you to know all the explicit details, they would have simply said they were having surgery. Only then are you free to question.  Otherwise you risk crossing the barrier between ‘no’ information and ‘too much’ information.  A procedure always falls into the ‘too much’ category, or into a yet another altogether: The, “I’m uncomfortable talking about it” category.  I think people want to be truthful, but often we look for evasive dialog to avoid it.


In language, our word choices often express subtle clues.  Words that are technically synonymous often infer nuanced differential meanings.   Even surgery seems different than having an ‘operation’.  I always associate the word ‘major’ with operation.  On the other hand, ‘minor’ seems to go with surgery.  By the way, minor surgery is surgery someone else is having.  If I’m having surgery, it is always major. Even with an infected hangnail, I can require a team of specialized surgeons.


The word ‘surgeon’ strikes fear into our hearts.  There is so much unknown about what they do.  They seem mysteriously sterile.  So much emotional wrangling, with a single word, has caused an entire industry to drop it.  You can no longer employ the services of a tree surgeon.  Tree Surgeon sounds much too dangerous, too foreboding.  “I had to call a tree surgeon”, evokes feelings of a death knell.  Conversely, communicating with an arborist, sounds really happy.  It’s the same job.


It is time to begin turning your thoughts towards having ‘a procedure’ on your shrubbery.  Within a few weeks, growth will begin emerging.  By trimming prior to new growth, you ensure that you will gain maximum benefit from the flush of foliage to come.  Avoid trimming spring flowering shrubs now, wait until after they bloom, before performing, a procedure.


David Bates


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