Monday, November 17, 2014

Defining a New Opposite

A quick Japanese lesson to start this blog entry.  
The Japanese word for "victim," is 被害者, which is pronounced, "he-guy-sha," with a bit of lengthening of the "guy" part.  Something like, "guy-ee."  
The first character, 被 - "he," means "Target."  The second character, 害 - "guy," means "Harm, injury or evil influence."  The last character, 者 - "sha," means "Person of that nature," or "Person that does that work."  
Put it all together and the direct translation is "Person who is the target of evil influences."  
That pretty much describes how I've felt this week.  
It was a mixed back of stuff.  At work, it was the jobs that we took on that became more complicated and more difficult, with tighter and tighter turn-arounds the clients were insisting on with each passing day.  It was also the series of silly mistakes that popping up left and right adding to the difficulty.  
At home it was my continuing battle with supernaturally inspired insomnia, as well as having my bathroom sink become a water fountain when the faucet handle suddenly popped off right after I woke up in the morning.  
My family hasn't had it too good, either.  One sister, who is in the midst of chemo-therapy, her second go-round with a cancer that returned after surgery and radiation therapy, got pneumonia this week.  My other sister came home to find her husband dead in bed.  
All this stuff was making me succumb to whatever evil influence was directing its attention at me.  Talking a walk after getting home one night, reading messages from my family about what was happening with my sisters, I looked up to see a bicycle bearing straight toward me.  There was a moment of dancing back and forth we tried to move out of each other's way until I finally jumped to the curve and he swerved back toward the inside of the sidewalk.  
"Why don't you just move to the right next time!"  
Huh?  You think this was my fault?  Why don't you drive your bicycle in the street where you belong, you sonovabitch, or next time I'll grab that loose brick there, bash you over the head and push you into the street to get run over by the next car to drive by!
I didn't say that.  But I thought it.  And I imagined doing it, as well as other more colorful variations, for the next two or three blocks.  
The walk didn't help me relax the way I intended it.  
So, by Friday, I was waiting for the week to end.  I just wanted to get through the day.  I just wanted to get out of there in one piece.  I was going to have pizza.  That's my comfort food.  That's my reward food.  That's what I eat to congratulate myself for getting through life's adventures.  An adventure, they say, is something that ought to kill you but doesn't.  That's how I was using the word a moment ago.  
It was with this mindset that I received an email telling me one of those jobs going through our production pipeline was finally, FINALLY finished.  Thank, God!  All I had to do was burn it to a disk and put it on an FTP site for our client, who has been wanting to see it done for the last two weeks.  I sent the client an email.  Got back his very grateful reply.  I got the CD burning ready to go.  Then I made the fateful decision of opening the load file we'd created for the client's document management program. 
It was the wrong size.  It was over a hundred pages short.  It was wrong.  
I called the supervisor that had overseen the first part of the project into my office.  I pointed to my screen.  How could this have happened?  What did we do?  I answered my own question as I opened the raw file and compared it to the finished project.  We somehow skipped one of the files.  The first appeal file for the case in question.  The second appeal file was there, marked as "Second Appeal."  Wouldn't it seem obvious that if there was a "second" appeal a "first" appeal was lurking around there somewhere?  Huh?  
It was at this point that I noticed how my supervisor was taking it.  His head was down.  He wasn't looking at me.  He wasn't looking at the screen either.  He'd glance at the open files, flinch, and then look down.  "Sorry," he said.  "I don't know how it happened."  He said both several times.  
It was then I realized it was my fault, too.  I had taken over the second part of the project.  To make sure it was "done right."  I had the files he had split from the raw file.  I could have, should have, would have if I had thought ahead, checked them to make sure the page counts matched.  Earlier that week, I had told my staff that I wanted everyone to check what went past their desks.  "Everyone should check a little, so no one has to check a lot."  I had failed to follow my own instructions.  
This didn't make me feel any better, but it did make me see that, right now, I was making my supervisor a target of evil influence.  
I let him go back to his job.  I got on the phone and told the client what happened.  I apologized for my department's error...  For my error.  I worked out with the client that I would send him what we'd finished right away and I would have the rest done by Monday then send it to him then.  I went out into the department after that, told everyone to leave me alone, locked the door to my office and worked on fixing the job to keep that promise.  I played with the idea of coming in on Saturday to do it, but rejected it.  I would fix it now.  
I finished my part.  Before I left the office I got an email from the team completing the job telling me that I had sent it to them in time to ensure it would be done by Monday.  Ok.  Fine.  Thanks.  
When I look up "victim" in the thesaurus, the only antonyms they offer are words like "criminal" or "culprit."  Even the Japanese thesaurus I consulted online gives me 加害者, pronounced "ka-guy-sha," as the antonym.  It means "assailant," or literally, "the person who increases the evil influence."  
This seems to indicate that our choice is to either allow evil influences to impact us, or to turn around and exert our evil influence on those around us.  "Do unto others before they do unto you."  This seems limiting.  Should the opposite of being targeted by an evil influence be something more like the emitter of a good influence?
To this end, I've created a new Japanese word: 加利者.  It's pronounced, "ka-ree-sha," and means, "Person who increased good influences."  There.  This is my gift to the Japanese people.  
Now to figure out how to say that in my own language. 


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