There’s a word for it

And the word is amok.

Hey, it’s Thanksgiving, I’m probably not the only person swinging at the end of his mental rope.

I was thinking about freakouts on my way to work this morning. I had a grandmother who had a nasty temper. 5’2″, beautiful singing voice, she was the sweetest and funniest person you could imagine, as long as you didn’t piss her off. She could curse fluently in traffic situations.

I, on the other hand, usually lose my powers of speech when I get mad. That’s called apoplexia I think. Maybe it happens to you – your eyes do the Marty Feldman thing, the rest of you does the Yosemite Sam thing, and so on. I remain calm for the longest time, but then I lose it. It’s one reason why I don’t have a gun – people are far safer that way. Also Alpha doesn’t like guns.

I even feel uncomfortable around my new axe. Or driving my car sometimes. Sometimes this devil in my passenger seat says things like, sure would be fun just to crash into that asshole, wouldn’t it? Or take all the outside mirrors off this entire line of parked cars?

So far so good, though.

As you know, the word amok comes from Indonesian. Or Malay or something. For good reason. I saw an Indonesian person go amok once. All these other Indonesian people were standing around saying things like, “Amok…” and “Oh, amok!” It was a young maid, and four guys had their hands full holding her in a chair.

Quick, shoot her with a tranquilizer dart.

It was interesting how the word was used – the grammar was totally blurry. Was it a noun? Verb? Adjective? To my way of thinking, the word amok deserves to run wild in the garden of grammar, just like the person to whom it’s being applied runs wild.

[Coming sometime today, or not: what I'm thankful for.]

5 responses to “There’s a word for it

  1. “I even fell uncomfortable around my new axe” That MUST be a Freudian slip ;)

  2. BTW: “amok maken” (to make amok) is an expression Dutch-speakers use frequently. So it probably is Indonesian.

  3. miguel

    It was a Freudian typo, and I fixed it. In English we say “to run amok”, and I *think* it’s “amok laufen” in German, which would be a literal translation of the English expression. I know it’s not “amok machen”…

    I’m sure the Dutch had plenty of opportunities to observe amok back in the day.

  4. for thanksgiving, I will be eating pork chops, I think. whee.

    my family however, will have the choice of what of my mother’s homemade pies they want to eat. ungrateful bastards heh.

  5. I remember learning about “amok” in a class on Malay oral traditions and English colonials’ misguided approaches to documenting them. (Barbaric, I tell you. Har.) This article on the etymology of the word kind of touches on the problem of accepting written versions of oral histories.

    I know what you mean about freaking yourself out, tho; I think it gets worse when you focus on it. maybe if you develop a symbolic warning system, like I only show my teeth in a grin when I’m really pissed and ready to spring. I know it, most of my acquaintances know it, so really all I have to do is grin really big and I’m reminded to chill a tiny bit…