Saturday, January 2, 2010

The "Hamster" ?!??

Several years ago I was an active member on the “UNO MAS” (Down syndrome) website. At one time there was a person who posted there about her roommate who had Down syndrome, and she nicknamed her “Hamster”. This nickname did NOT go over well with the group at Uno Mas, who felt, correctly, that to constantly call ones roommate by a rodent’s name was degrading and insulting.

Fast Forward to.... yesterday morning:
I confess that as Ricki left the house yesterday morning, to catch her ride to school, the word “Hamster” came to my mind. You see, “Hamster” in Hebrew is “O-ger”, a word implying “hoarding”.
The hamster stuffs his pockety cheeks with food and takes it with him as he scurries home. And that is EXACTLY the image that came to mind as I saw Ricki gathering FOUR bags to take to school. Friday is a short day, and her black school bag could easily handle the items she would need for the morning. If you want to stretch things, the black school bag and a small plastic bag for her mid-AM snack would be ample.
Now often I have to contend with this type of scenario. I have frequently gone through her bags with her, explaining that there is no reason to take her entire photo collection to school, other assorted unnecessary items, etc...
But as I gazed with chagrin, I saw Ricki gather 3 large shoulder bags, and a rectangular artwork-case as she prepared to exit. I don’t even know what they all contained. This was the largest collection of items that I had witnessed to date. If I had stopped her to examine the contents, or to try and reason with her, she would have missed her ride. (At least she would not be on the street like that, only at her school.)
And I confess that at that moment, my convenience overrode my natural inclination to not let Ricki out the door looking ridiculous. So that is why “hamster” came to mind......

1 comment:

Adelaide Dupont said...

Hamsters do what they have to do to survive, especially in winter when they cannot burn so many calories/kilojoules (except from shivering). And it's not that they hibernate like other animals, but they do shut down their breathing and heartrate for 7-10 days.

And they eat a varied and often healthful diet.

Perhaps the friend did not know that the ultimate root word for hamster (and it comes from the Persian) means: "oppressor". Which is probably a bit worse than only being called a 'rodent'.

They come from Syria, too (the Syrian hamster is the one who 'fights to the death').

I will admit to finding them quite cute. Their feet and legs are quite sensitive. And they have dreadful tempers!