Quit Being Weird

I had a Facebook discussion with some old friends recently where the term "weird" was used.

I could tell right away that different people use that word differently.
I remembered when I was growing up that when I said something was weird my Grandmother would correct me and say "No one is weird, some people are just different."

The discussion started when I pointed out a public figure's behavior that I considered and described as "weird." Others chimed in with how they did not feel it was unusual at all even citing it was part of a religiously motivated practice.
That got me thinking...was I being unfair using the word "weird" to describe something someone else felt so strongly about?
The internet has no shortage of hate speech, I've been called far worse than weird for far less, but if we can't learn from the feedback and push back from those we trust, what's the point?

Like most people, when my beliefs are challenged I go and look into the original premise to see if I still hold those beliefs.

Stop laughing, that's what I do.  I know most people just shout louder and turn away, but I truly wanted to know if my terminology was the problem or my feelings regarding the practice of the public figure.

The world still has mixed opinions about the practice so I thought back to what Grandma always said.

Webster's defines "weird" as "suggesting something supernatural, uncanny."

That is not at all what I had intended, but my use of "weird" in the decades since Grandma corrected me has shifted to include "unusual so as to cause wonder" and "Out of place."

Communications in a one way echo chamber can be complicated and I'm sure if all three of those in the FB conversation were in the same room the conversation would have been over in 20 seconds with all groups in agreement, but it can be complicated to sort out intent, humor, sarcasm and wit, especially when you gravitate towards those who are considered experts in all 4.

Who was the figure?  It doesn't matter.
What was the activity? It doesn't matter.

It was how I described it that was the trouble.  We in EMS can fall back into our comfort zones far too often when dealing with patients and when we encounter those from other cultures and belief systems we have to be intentional in our phrasing.  In reflection I would never describe an ECG to a patient as "weird" even if I found it confusing, unusual or out of place.

Learn from my misstep and be more intentional with your language.  You never know who's listening (or reading). Also, "Keep Austin Uncanny" just sounds weird.