Do you like a challenge? Well, I was quite naughty this time, challenging my partner in crime, Joe Boyle, to come up with a Double Take on the topic “Jarred”. And it’s always easier for the challenger than the one challenged. So, let me first tell you what I found in an online dictionary, as some of you might be equally flustered as to what I refer to. The verb “to jar” is defined as “to send a painful or damaging shock” through the body or “to have an unpleasant, annoying, or disturbing effect”.
Huh, you may think – what is she up to now? That is not like her. She’s always the one who writes some cozy stuff, feel-good stories. Where is she headed now? And don’t we have enough awful things going on in the world that we can do well without another article that will be jarring us?!
Well, let me tell you, I am a worrier by nature. And I’m upset when something bad happens. I’m truly upset, up to tears, when I become a burden to anybody. But jarred? The first definition, the physical one, is definitely one that is stronger than the second, don’t you think? But I haven’t encountered one of that kind yet. Even when, a few years ago, I double-broke and dislocated my shoulder (I’m a thorough person when it comes to doing things, for sure!), I was not jarred enough not to have some breakfast (thinking of a long wait in the ER), calling my husband at work to tell him where I was going, and to call a cab. I should hope that I’m able to take care of similarly dire situations just as analytically.
The second definition refers to a psychological effect. And quite a few come to my mind, but mostly are the loss of family members and friends and the events of 9/11. I’m sure you can relate, and I won’t go into this any deeper.
What the dictionary left out is a third definition: “to jar” is also “to put into a jar”, which can be temporarily or permanently. (Aha, you may think now, I knew she was going to go up a different alley, after all.) And I think that could be meant physically as well as psychologically. Which makes me wonder whether when somebody is jarred by an event, it simply means that it is stored in their mind as in a jar.
Jarring can also be a wonderful pastime. There have been years when I cooked down every single apple from our trees in Steilacoom and turned them into the pinkest apple sauce I’ve ever seen. Or compote from the yellow plums our neighbors gave us. One of my first summers in Lakewood, our tomatoes in the garden simply wouldn’t turn red. I didn’t want to toss the load of green tomatoes we had on the bushes, and I had never made green fried tomatoes. So, I checked a cookbook by Laura Ingalls Wilder (indeed, her of the “Little House on the Prairie”) for recipes – and I found one with green tomato relish. Suffice it to say, it was delicious. And I jarred quite some amount.
My husband had a different idea about jarring. He loves the creatures that visit our backyard. In one of the first years here, he built a contraption out of wood and a Mason jar. He filled the jar with nuts – and we spent endless hours watching squirrels figuring out how to get to their coveted food. Of course, the clever little rascals quickly found out they needed to be jarred in order to get there. They loved the challenge apparently, and none of them got jarred in a disturbing way whatsoever.
Maybe the difference in the word “to jar” is the active and the passive. As long as you stay on the active side and jar away good memories or nice foods – or squirrels for a few seconds – you are good. Just when you are jarred without your doing, it becomes disturbing. But then, shouldn’t we all be more active in positive ways than passive in negative ones?!
Care to read Boyle’s Double Take? Click here.
Joe Boyle, author of the Suburban Times’ column “Westside Story”, and Susanne Bacon, novelist and author of the Suburban Times’ column “Across the Fence”, are sharing their thoughts about a variety of topics in their joint project of double features called “Double Take”. Comments are more than welcome, as they know that the world has more than their two angles – the more the merrier.