3V1146.01 Dead flowers: [They been shot.] (3/13/81)

A warm day, the family outside working in the garden. Peggy picked up some dried flowers, brought them inside and asked me to put them in a vase. I refused to do so, avoiding a confrontation by evading her request. Outside later, Peggy again mentioned her flowers. I told her I had not put them in the vase because they were dead. Peggy remarked, ‘ ’cause they’ve been shot.’ I asked for confirmation ‘ ‘Cause they’ve been shot ?’ Peggy was certain.. ‘Yes.’ ‘Who shot them ? ‘ I asked. ‘They been shot,’ she repeated. ‘Who shot them ?’ She changed her mind, ‘They’re not dead.’

‘Dead’ and ‘Shot’ are intimately connected in meaning for Peggy, but how ? Does ‘Shot’ mean ‘having caused to be dead’ ? Or does ‘dead’ mean ‘the consequences of being shot’ ? The prominence of these words for Peggy comes from her play with Robby who often plays noisy and active shooting games. Peggy runs around during the game : Robby and Miriam shoot her and each other. They hide and Peggy shoots them. The cooperative elements of the game requires the victim’s excessively histrionic death (i.e. collapse and lying still). in turn, the perpetrator then shoots the victim again, saying ‘bang. I shot you back to life.’ Peggy’s meanings for those words come out of this idiosyncratic game. She uses them as currency in trading conversation, but there can be no way those words have an immediate and simple relation to the ideas adults usually associate with them.

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