“I’m starving!” – A common figure of speech in our culture.
When a person chooses the phrase “I’m starving”, one generally interprets that the individual must be hungry. Then again, why wouldn’t the person use the words “I’m hungry”? Use of the verb “starving” is a dramatic cry not for food, but rather, for attention. These hyperbolic words, when interpreted mean something more like “Let’s eat together”, with a subtle subtext of “Hurry up”. As I said, “I’m starving” is really a request for attention, companionship, and haste.
Alright, unfounded conclusions and minor diatribe aside, let’s chat briefly about starvation. Since many Americans have never experienced it, myself included, I went straight to the favorite student source to find a definition of the word – Wikipedia. “Starvation is a severe deficiency in caloric energy, nutrient and vitamin intake. It is the most extreme form of malnutrition. In humans, prolonged starvation can cause permanent organ damage and eventually, death.” Surely, this is not what we mean when we choose to use the word “starving”.
Reliable access to a safe and nutritious food supply is truly a gift. In light of Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, I encourage Loyola students to take a moment to think about what we have, what others do not, and how our words do not always convey what we truly mean. Additionally, as Thanksgiving draws near, may we all reflect upon what we are thankful for and grow our sensitivity to and compassion for those less privileged than ourselves.
And when you’re hungry, just say that. No drama necessary.