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My Deepest Empathies?

4 Jun

Since I have started writing blog entries and adding content for the American Health Journal, I have convinced myself that I have just about every disease, condition, and infection known to man. It took a matter of four weeks, but this job has definitely turned me into a hypochondriac. Well, to be fair, I talked myself out of a few of these ailments. For example, I am relieved that I do not have a brain tumor; I just get tension headaches at work. No, I don’t have Alzheimer’s—I just forgot where I left my phone. Oh, and did you know that they have a cure for leprosy? It’s called Hansen’s disease now. I was vaccinated for polio, I am not color blind, and I had the chicken pox when I was two. I am also up-to-date on my tetanus shot.

There is one condition that I am absolutely convinced I have that I must share it with you. I have diagnosed myself with mirror-touch synesthesia. Yes, it is a real thing. Mirror-touch synesthesia is a condition that causes people, such as myself, to feel touches that others receive. It has to do with neurons that deal with a person’s ability to empathize. People with MTS have overactive neurons. The idea is, if you see one person touch another in the arm, you will feel the sensation in your own arm. You see someone get pinched, you feel as if you have been pinched yourself. It does not stop with physical sensations. With MTS, people can hardly make it through horror movies because of the extreme feeling that what is happening to the actors, is happening to them.

All of my life, whenever I see someone get hit, I always react as if I have been hit. My friends will always look at me like I am a psychopath when I yell “OUCH!” whenever a stranger gets punched in the arm. I remember the time I watched The Human Centipede. I had to be pinned down to the couch with my eyes held open—no, that is not an exaggeration. I simply don’t like seeing people hurt. Don’t even get me started on the pain I feel when I take Willie to get a booster shot at the Vet.

Ok, well, maybe this isn’t the same thing as mirror-touch synesthesia, but it is an excellent opportunity to discuss a pair of very commonly confused words: empathy and sympathy. Empathy is the ability to experience the same feelings, thoughts, and emotions as another. If you are empathetic you feel what the other feels even though you are experiencing completely different situations. Sympathy is merely the understanding and caring for the suffering of others. When someone’s loved one has died, you offer him/her your deepest sympathy because you don’t feel as sad as they do, but you understand that she/he is hurting.

So to make it easy to remember: with empathy, you feel with someone—with sympathy, you feel for someone. Don’t forget to check out American Health Journal. It’s a cool, new website idea. Instead of just having simple posts like WebMd, AHJ has videos of doctors that explain any sort of medical question imaginable. It’s like being in the doctors’ office without the nuisance of the drive and endless wait in the waiting room.


Who and Whom: The New You’re and Your

7 Jan

Thanks to contributions from grammaticians, we have made significant progress in the cure for knowing when to use your and you’re. I feel the need to raise awareness about a different grammar disease: who and whom wrongful interchangeability. This highly infectious disease is caused from not paying attention in fifth grade English class. Its worst symptom is the inability to distinguish between subjects and objects of clauses. The incubation period for this disease is very short—as soon as you contract it, you will present symptoms of this disorder. Do you have this disease? Here are a few warning signs of this disease:

If you think the usage of who is correct in the following sentences, you may want to contact your family grammatician:

  • Who am I talking to?
  • Who can we trust?
  • I don’t know who he invited.

However, you can protect yourself and your loved ones from this gruesome disease if you educate yourself.

When using who, you are referring to the subject of a clause. When using whom, you are referring to the object of a clause. The subject is the doer; the object is the receiver. Mixing up the pronouns who and whom is like using she for her—it just doesn’t make sense. No one would think to say “He loves she.” That’s because “He loves her” not only sounds right, but is right. Its not “me want cake” its “I want cake.” She and I are subjects, while her and me are objects. Using who as an object (He loves who?) is just like saying “He loves she.” They’re both wrong, but most people don’t notice that who is used incorrectly. When in doubt of choosing who or whom, think if whether she or her would work in the sentence. Replace all she’s with who’s and all her’s with whom’s.

It is a pandemic, but it doesn’t have to be. Continue to educate yourself on this dreadful disease and stay tuned for more grammar posts on my blog!

Willie teaches me to lay v. to lie

3 Nov

There are a few things that no matter how many times you tell me, I will never absorb the information: how old my dad is, daylight savings (spring ahead; fall back—what is that?), and lastly, the tenses of to lie v. to lay. Willie has inspired me to take care of that last one. He said he’ll help me figure out a way to remember the tenses. Let’s see if this works!

To Lie—to rest or recline


Simple Present: Willie lies on the couch now.


Simple Past: Willie lay in the shade yesterday.


Past Participle: Willie should have lain under the bed because he thought it was comfortable.

To Lay—to put something down


Simple Present: Willie lays his lobster toy down.


Simple Past: I laid Willie down on his back.


Past Participle: Willie stood next to his red, stuffed toy which he had laid there only moments before.

I think Willie was on to something. I definitely remember the differences better now! Thank you WIllie, I’ll give you a treat 🙂