What? What’s srendeke?

I’m talking about Self-Righteous Nonconfrontational Diabetes Confrontations, or SRNDC. And because we’re creating acronyms, I think this one ought to be its own word, srendeke, pronounced seren-dEEk. I have srendekes on a daily basis, so it’s time to start calling it something, right?

I’m betting some of you engage in srendekes, too.

Srendekes: an inner, private (all in your mind!) conversation in which you assume the roles of both yourself and someone else in the vicinity just minutes or seconds prior to what could conceivably be an actual real-life interaction. Except 99.9% of the time such an interaction would never occur. Or, if it did, would play out in a completely different way.

Srendekes posit a world in which you interact with brazen, presumptuous, and ignorant-about-diabetes people. Srendekes have the tendency, when examined, to shine the light back on you and illuminate your insecurities about the illness.

Examples of srendekes:

At the gym, in the locker room, while getting dressed to work out, or while getting dressed after showering, I’ll often overhear older gentleman talking with each other about the perils of aging. They lounge in the whirlpool and prattle on about the difficulties of getting older and having to deal with soreness, muscle loss, exhaustion, etc. It’s a jovial woe-is-me kind of thing. My srendekes here consist of my imagining one of them saying to me, as I walk by, something along the lines of, “You young guys should be glad you still have your youth. Enjoy it while you can.”

Pretty benign, right? But as I think about this, it irritates me, the level of assumption that I’m perfectly healthy and that youth — which a couple of years ago started scuttling away — is on my side.

So I srendeke: I mean, really, you old whippersnapper, “Let me tell you about living with Type 1 diabetes[1]. Oh, and the cancer diagnosis[2] and treatment I went through last year. And my depression. And my asthma…”

Another example — this one using srendeke in a conversation with another person with diabetes or with someone who feels your diabetes pain — might go like this:

Oh, man, I had this total srendeke while standing in line at Starbucks this morning. My insulin pump[3] beeped, so I took it out of my pocket and turned off the notification, wrapped the tubing back around the pump, stuck it back in my pocket, and that’s when I noticed this woman in line beside me staring, all wide-eyed, at what I’d just been doing. I smiled at her, but then I totally srendeked on her while I waited to get my coffee and scone. I imagined her saying, “Should you really be getting something so sweet if you have diabetes,” to which I was all, like, going off on her about minding her own business, telling her that if she paid more attention to herself than to those around her we’d all be much better off. Let me tell you, lady, a thing or two about what you should be eating for breakfast!

I enjoy srendekes, truth be told.

  1. Type 1 diabetes:
  2. cancer diagnosis:
  3. insulin pump:

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Eric Lagergren: Eric Lagergren was born in 1974 but didn’t give much thought to diabetes until March 2007, when he was diagnosed with Type 1. He now gives quite a bit of thought to the condition, and to help him better understand his life as a person with diabetes, he writes about it. Eric is the senior editor for the Testing Division at the University of Michigan’s English Language Institute in Ann Arbor. (Eric Lagergren is not a medical professional.)

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