In Peril

I took some strategically placed personal days between Christmas and New Years; combined with the paid holidays from my company, I was off for eleven days straight.  It was a very low-key holiday with not much going on so it’s not surprising that I watched a lot of tv movies.

Diversity in movies isn’t high on my list of priorities but I did watch a bigger variety than usual, including several films that could be considered “thrillers” – Die Hard, Murder at 1600, Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom, North by Northwest, several Tarzan movies and pretty much every Japanese monster movie ever made. 

You wouldn’t think all of these movies would have much in common but you’d be wrong.  The one thing they all had in common was screaming/squealing female characters.  In scenes of danger or violence, the women all scream or squeal.  The men in these scenes?  Silent as the grave (except for the sound of fists smacking flesh).  Even in Murder at 1600, which has a very strong female lead (Diane Lane), in the two scenes which qualify, while she doesn’t scream, she makes grunts and exclamations while the male lead (Wesley Snipes) is silent.   I will admit that a couple of times Bruce Willis did grunt a bit in Die Hard but when you consider the near-mortal injuries he sustained, you’d think he’d make a bit more noise.

Having never been in any situation even remotely like the ones in these films, I don’t want to speculate as to whether or not I would be a screamer or a squealer.  However, based on the fact that language fit for a longshoreman regularly pops out of my mouth almost automatically when I drop something, spill something or even just stub my toe, I’m guessing I might be making noise of some kind!

Do you have any “Pavlovian” responses?

49 thoughts on “In Peril”

    1. Regarding politicians, which #45 is not (Criminal is his category) I cannot stand to hear Sen Chuck Grassley, Gov Mark Dayton, or Sen Susan Collins speak. They each have speech patterns that grate on my ears. Mute.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. While we rested up from our trip SW, I watched more TV than I consume during the entire remainder of the year. The ASPCA commercials showing abused, cold dogs are revolting to me. I am most sympathetic towards abused animals, but really this goes on and on and if you donate you just reinforce airing of the commercial! There has to be a better way.

          Mute and OFF. AND NO DONATION.

          Liked by 4 people

        2. LOL. I think I mentioned that I was binge watching Farscape on Sunday and I noticed within the first hour or so that clearly they were thinking they were reaching a different demographic than the one that was watching from my sofa. Lots of testosterone ads and ED ads.

          Liked by 4 people

        3. Robin has been rewatching seasons of Project Runway this winter and sometimes I watch one with her. The show is highly artificial and essentially one long product placement but at least there is very little gunfire.
          The advertising that gets placed with Project Runway is bizarre. It’s aimed at female and femalish viewers, I presume but neither I nor Robin can discern what the product is, what it does or who it’s for. There are also occasionally ads for males interested in expensive designer fragrances.

          Liked by 2 people

  1. I’ll assume this can mean any knee-jerk reactions, and I’ve been aware of some of these lately. Every time I pass the cookie tin that’s been filled with Christmas cookies and candies sent by a beloved s-i-l, I take at least one. Or the counter-productive urge to remind Husband to drink all the water he’s supposed to with his meals.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. There are lots of things on tv that need the mute button. Sometimes I decide to just turn the tv off until the world becomes sane again.

    I think there’s a song for almost everything. There are so many times when something happens or someone says something and a line from a song pops into my head so I just sing it out. I’ve learned more music as I’ve gotten older so there are more songs in me that can pop out when the situation demands them. And I really mean they just pop out.

    There is a two-word phrase which bursts out of me when I stub my toe and no one is around. No one will ever hear me say it, so obviously I can control it with some will power. It still pops into my head but I don’t let it out if others are around when something painful occurs. I learned it from a man who has left the world and took with him a whole lot of color, song lyrics, and natural wisdom. He left me a few things that live on in me. One of them is that two-word phrase.

    The other thing is the smell of popcorn. I don’t eat popcorn because it gets stuck in my teeth. But when someone makes popcorn, my Pavlovian response is to eat everything in the kitchen except the popcorn. Oh dear.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. That newer “sneezing” commercial makes me want to put my foot through the TV screen. Even my wife lunges for the mute button on that one!

    I had a similar feeling to wessew’s about 45 when George W Bush spoke. Like nails on a chalkboard. But my response to 45 was even more intense. The man is quite possibly the WORST public speaker who ever lived. Oh yes, and virtually everything that came out of his mouth was garbage unfit for human ear consumption.

    Expletives automatically fly every time I stub my toe or give myself a bump or bruise or scrape or cut or mild concussion. OR, channel surfing between 4 or 5 live sporting events and landing on a commercial on each station! I keep telling my wife TV is all about eyeballs and not about the actual TV show. I think she may be starting to believe me. Even she won’t bother watching a 2-hour movie on TV that takes 3 hours to watch. Hooray for Netflix.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 7 people

  4. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I am resisting the urge to do a long lecture about the action urges elicited by emotions. I don’t think screams or squeals are conditioned responses (pavlovian), but rather primitive responses to the sensation of pain or anger or fear. In the movies I am pretty sure those responses are scripted. Nuff said by the Cognitive Behavior Therapist, which is what became of the early Pavlovian experiments.

    My actual Pavlovian responses are about food because I was taught that food was love. Thus my Grandma’s sugar bread presented with a hug and a pat on the head. I fight this one every doggone day when I try not to overeat. Sigh.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thanks for differentiating between Pavlovian responses and the ones we are fully in control of, Jacque. It seems like a small thing to quibble about, but if we aren’t aware that we are in control of most of our responses to everyday happenings, we absolve ourselves of that responsibility, or worse, we don’t even realize we have the power to change it. Most of what disgusts or irritates us are things that we have the ability to change our response to, if we so choose.

      Here’s an example. Whenever I see a young man with his pants sagging below his buttocks, my first reaction is to want to yank them up or make some smart-ass comment. Neither reaction is appropriate or productive, so instead I choose to shake my head to myself and try to figure out what on earth compels someone to dress like that. I still haven’t figured it out, and I probably never will, but it helps to remind me, that I’m in control of my reaction no matter how provocative the stimulus might be. I can choose to take the high road or let someone else provoke behavior in me that I disapprove of.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. so sven he comes home from church with two black eyes and only asks how he got those and sven says well i was sitting there then they had us stand up and the lady in front of me she had her dress get caught up in her butt cheeks, it’s was just stuck up there ya know and i was thinking how she’d be deal embarrassed if she knew so i reached up there and pulled it out and she turned around and hit me real hard right in the eye with her purse. well i got to thinking about it and how that wasn’t right of me to assume she didn’t want that dress stuck up there and so i reached up there and put it back in the crack where she had it before i pulled it out and she turned around and whacked me in the other eye


  5. I see commercials only when I am with Sandy. I only stream at home, so all commercials are grating to me. But there are actors who grate on me so I avoid their movies. Bruce Willis’s I Am So Macho I Swallow Whole Bottles of Apsirin Dry demeanor.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. My Pavlovian responses may best be described as non-response or avoidance.

    We stream all our television so, while there are still commercials, they tend to be smaller advertisers and there are never political ads, even in an election year. I personally don’t like to get my news from presenters, preferring rather to read it from various sources. Presenters, with a combination of their limited comprehension, self-dramatization and editorial stance invariably grate on me. Consequently, I rarely am exposed to politicians of any stripe actually speaking.

    Most days, Robin spends at least part of her day upstairs in her studio working on projects. When she is up there she often has the television on. Many of the shows she watches, apparently, are crime shows, police procedurals and heavy dramas. From the main floor I hear a lot of screaming, gunfire, and explosions. They’re acting their brains out up there.

    I never watch those sorts of shows and that’s partly why Robin chooses them in her studio. They don’t interest me and I don’t understand the appeal. My Pavlovian response would be to leave the room.

    About screaming/squealing:
    I’ve always wondered in crowd situations—concerts, rallies, etc—about those people who react to a performer or speaker by screaming/squealing. I’ve never, in any circumstance, felt moved to scream/squeal and it makes me wonder what is going on with those people. I presume that my relationship to a crowd must be different than theirs, that they must feel energized by being there, in harmony with some aggregated sentiment, but where the impulse to squeal comes from I can’t imagine.

    Liked by 6 people

  7. This is to people in person: I Pavlov away about the hairdo where there are two long maverick strands of hair that fall over the face. Teller at bank kept pushing it out of the way and had to watch for 15 minutes as I dealt with PoA for Sandy at the bank. She also had so many rings on her finger she had trouble holding a pen. Then had to wait 20 minutes in post office to deal with someone trying to perhaps steal my mail or just screwed up putting down wrong apartment number. They took care of it all, put alert to postal carrier and blocked changed of address without coming in and showing ID. Wonderful, but as I waited watched three women come in with that hairdo. All this sofr style. And this hairdo is far past its shwelf life.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Then there are those individuals with fingernails/false fingernails so long that they can’t actually do anything with their hands. How do they get hired?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I ask students about this sometimes. They do manage pretty well with the long nails. And they tell me it’s just about learning how to do it.


  8. Morning!
    Ah, the noises we make… I’ve had that discussion a few times in my life. It’s interesting to us the noise I make when I spill something is pretty similar to the noise I make when I hurt myself. Which, to the listener, should be rather concerning as they don’t know how to react.

    Many years ago, working at a theater and I was up on a ladder with my feet maybe 5 or 6 feet off the ground. The ladder slipped out from under me and I made a really awkward squawk going down. I wasn’t hurt, landed on my feet, got the ladder rearranged and back up and it was several minutes before a person from the box office came in and said “I heard a noise.” Good think it wasn’t serious I joked.

    And when the raccoon ran between my legs I also squawked and I think I shrieked like a little girl.
    Most of the times, when started, my reaction is just a loud “AAAH!” which can mean anything.
    Oh, but I can swear too; the more tired, the quicker they come out.
    My favorite story about this: A civil war Col., David Moore, it was said he “Could get madder and swear longer without repeating himself more than any man I ever knew”

    We mute the pillow guy, and I channel surf over commercials. I do enjoy the streaming services too.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. That one of the great frustrations of my life. My vocabulary of cuss words is pathetically mundane and limited. This despite the fact that I’ve have plenty of opportunity to practice.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. For awhile moments of great frustration would make me go for the F word reflexively. I tried to break myself of that habit by substituting “Bloody hell!” in a faux British accent. Think Helen Mirren or Emma Thompson. I liked this better because it sounded less ill-tempered and more good-humoured. It doesn’t come very naturally to me, though. I have to make the effort.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. When I hurt myself, my default is to mutter a Danish swear word. Even so, my word choices are old fashioned and lame; words that any normal five year old would be familiar with.


      2. Robin swears more than I do, and that’s not very often. Swearing just feels forced and unnatural to me; I’ve never been able to do it convincingly or sincerely.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I used to love listening to Puke & Snot hurling Shakespearean insults at each other at the Renaissance Fair. That’s the sort of thing I’d love to be able to do with some panache.

          Liked by 2 people

    1. Daughter is at that phase of starting to use swear words. Kelly hardly ever swears. (And I don’t think I ever heard my mom use a bad word). I learned from my dad. I’m careful about where I say them. But they’re out there everywhere so it’s no surprise she’s trying them.
      She’s at that place developmentally about pushing boundaries. Sigh. This could last a while with her.
      And what’s funny is, she has all her conversations with her conscience out loud. It’s all the things I thought about mom and dad, just I didn’t do it out loud. Haha

      Liked by 3 people

    2. If muting the pillow guy commercials before he even gets a full sentence out was an Olympic event, I would have at least six Gold medals by now.


  9. The one Pavlovian response that I have that I’m aware of, and which I haven’t been able to get rid of, is my startle reflex when I’m awakened abruptly from sleep by someone. My response is a terrified gasp and instant readying of my flight or fight response. My heart pounds like mad and my pulse races until the realization sets in that I’m safe. Obviously this doesn’t happen often, and I wasn’t really aware that I still respond that way until it happened a couple of times when I was in the hospital after my fall. If a nurse standing behind me would awaken me by tapping gently on my shoulder, I’d damn near jump right out of bed in fright. They soon figured out that standing at the foot of my bed and gently touching my feet was the way to rouse me. I have a similar response when someone “sneaks up on me,” or perhaps more accurately, if someone appears quietly out of nowhere. As I’m hard of hearing, this happens with some regularity.

    I know where both of these responses come from. The first is a result of having my mother awaken me by tossing a bucket of cold water on me in bed. This happened a several times when I was a teen and a very sounds sleeper. She’d come home from work early in the morning, and I’d still be asleep and possibly late for school, and she’d be furious. No matter how many alarms I set, and how many contraptions I tried to engage, I just couldn’t wake up. I’m still a very sound sleeper. I routinely sleep through severe thunderstorms, fireworks and other noise. The one thing that is capable of rousing me from sound sleep is a cat throwing up somewhere in the house.

    The response to someone “sneaking” up on me is also from that time. When I’d be reading, I’d be so absorbed in the book that I was completely oblivious to my surroundings, including my mother calling me. Again, she’d be infuriated thinking I was ignoring her, and there was no telling what she’d throw at me or hit me with when it happened.

    These responses are truly Pavlovian, and I have no control over them. You’d think that by now the conditioning was so long ago that it had lost it’s grip, but while my response now is a little more measured, it’s still there. Thankfully, it doesn’t happen often or perhaps if it did, I’d unlearn that response? Jackie?

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I listened to so much swearing in various places in my life, when working with my father, at a taconite plant, with other janitors, etc. It wore me out. I seldom swear, not out of prudishness, just how little it communicates when it is so constant.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. ari at three is learning about how he shouldn’t say bad words and so he is very good at voicing his observations of those words he hears that are bad words
    this morning his mother was telling me how her boss had finally crossed the line and how she was done with this f*** ing company and ari said mom that’s a bad word. she explained to him that adults talking to each other can say bad words when they are really angry and we backed out of the driveway and waved good bye
    throughout the day maybe 4 or 5 times ari asked me if i was a grown up and i’d laugh a little and say yeah i’m a grown up ari. you’re a kid and i’m a grown up. on the way back to his hose in the evening he asked again and i said ari … i’m a grown up, you mom and dad are grown ups grandma and uncle spencer are grown ups, all mamas and dads friends are grown up… the kids at school are they grown ups? he said no they are kids
    i said miss sara and miss isabelle … are they kids or grown ups? they are grown ups he said. 30 seconds pass and he says miss sara and miss isabelle they say bad words. i said really, what do they say? he said they are grown ups so they say bad words. then i put two and two together. he had been working it out all day, and after hearing bad words are ok for grown ups from his mom he was trying to figure out what made a person a grown up who could say bad words,
    i get him again today so we can go over it a bit

    i’ve been enunciating more clearly my gaul dangits and shoots since he started paying attention
    f bombs are reduced dramatically and he catches me be way too pavlovian way too much of the time . i’m that papa i’m afraid. my grandpas never said a blue word i can remember. my dad only did it after we started working together when i was 18
    my mom never

    my main pavlovian response is about sound
    chewing ice is number 1 upsetter. i need to leave the room. it was a problem at business dinners as a jr executive when i be seated next to someone at a big dinner who chewed their ice. it’s really intrusive to ask someone to stop a behavior but i can’t sit through it
    chips are the same or popcorn at the movies from the guy behind me . those guys who chew mashed potatoes loud… what the hell is the matter with them? what kind of person chews their mashed potatoes loud?
    tv , anyone who says an historic event . how can you not know the rule about how an is before vowels and silent h’s like herbs and spices or son and heir. tv commentator interviews on the news. people who should know say he is a heir to the thrown and it is an historic day .
    not everyone talks good like me

    Liked by 2 people

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