Virtute spent last week in and out of the Vet suffering from a bladder obstruction. It was a pretty rough week for him. Once the medicine kicked in and he was feeling better, I caught him having a conversation with Gumption. She was asking him whether or not the procedure he went through at the Vet had hurt.
As we all know, Virtute’s a bit of an etymology nerd, and I took it as a sign that he was feeling better when he responded to Gumption by saying, “Well, I don’t know if hurt is the right word. You know that comes from Old French “hurter” meaning to strike a blow. It’s actually the same with the word pain, that comes from the Old French “peine” meaning to punish. I don’t like to think about these sensations as being done to me, when they were in fact a product of my biology and my environment.”
Gumption wasn’t following, but Virtute continued nonetheless, “Illness originally meant an individual of bad moral quality, which is also a product of how we’ve understood such issues in a medical model. Probably I’d say I was under dis-ease since I was experiencing discomfort and misfortune, but alas, even that word is improperly used in our day-to-day lives. Do you understand?”
On cue, Gumption batted Virtute in the face with her paws. He recoiled and said, “Ouch! That hurt”.
Sometimes I think Gumption understands more than she lets on.