There is a certain thing I used to say all the time back home (perhaps you still say it; many people do) that I have not said since I was kidnapped to Cancerland. You will recognize the construction. It is far from rare.
I’d say, This job…this weather…this traffic… this marriage…is killing me. Amazing how many things were killing me back when nothing was killing me.
Well, that is not something anyone says in Cancerland. Yes, of course, it is just silly hyperbole, just unthinking melodrama, but Cancerlanders tend to be pretty careful about hyperbole, and melodrama.
Back home, most of us think nothing at all of painting things much worse than they are. This humidity (humidity!) is killing me; if I don’t get out of here soon, I’ll die; I’d rather die than sit down to dinner again with that jerk. This seems to us a way to give force to how we feel, as if it weren’t enough just to be made terribly uncomfortable by humidity, weren’t enough really to want to be done with whatever boring thing we are being forced to do, weren’t enough to say how unpleasant we find certain company. It is not enough somehow till we make these things — little things, or even not so little — life-threatening.
That would be very bad form indeed where I am now. In Cancerland, where something really is killing us, we know better than to take the power to do that lightly.
Just something to bear in mind if you come for a visit, or find yourself stuck with one of us in an elevator somewhere.