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I've Gone Five Things-ing Again.

Title: Five Human Customs Teal'c Does Not Understand, And One He Does
Season: None in particular, all in general.
Spoilers: The results of the Jaffa struggle for freedom revealed! Teeny-tiny one for The Fifth Man.
Warnings: Not really, unless the results of a bris are offensive.
Synopsis: Jaffa meets human. Puzzlement ensues.
Disclaimer: All fun, borrowed characters returned, fluffed, folded, and smelling fresher. No customs destroyed in the making of this fic, which is, both by necessity and design, highly non-remunerative, but plenty of fun to write.

Five Human Customs Teal'c Does Not Understand, And One He Does

1. Why is separate but equal not equal or, for that matter, acceptable?

It comes up in a discussion of the new gear-up rooms, locker rooms, showering facilities, and lavatories that are to be provided as the base ramps up from the minimally staffed facility it had been when the intent had been to mothball the stargate. SG-1 was awaiting the arrival of General Hammond for a briefing, and the subject came up, with Captain Carter strongly lobbying O'Neill for a large number of single unit lavatories, rather than a smaller number of multi-stall facilities, segregated by sex, even though this would incur greater costs. O'Neill had answered that he had understood the concerns of Captain Carter and the other women on base, but that it might not be possible to get the Pentagon to "spring for the extra bucks".

"Separate but equal is not equal, sir," she had said.

O'Neill and Daniel Jackson had nodded in agreement, but then General Hammond had come in and the conversation had gone no further.

Afterwards he had asked Daniel Jackson to explain this, but he had just said "It just never is." O'Neill had sighed and said "Because someone always gets shafted." This was not sufficiently elucidating. The Tau'ri were very unique, in Teal'c's experience in the way that the sexes mingled freely in their day to day life. He was inclined to think that perhaps this understanding of equality had given rise to the commingling, rather than the other way around.

2. Why is it acceptable for O'Neill to wear a sweatshirt with a hood in all the neighborhoods of Colorado Springs, but he must not wear his own in certain areas?

"People might get the wrong idea," is meaningless without knowing what idea they might get. Why would it be unacceptable for others to think that he was a tough guy? Teal'c means strength. He has indeed striven to be tough since boyhood. He feels no need to hide this. As to gangs, he has broken his oath of fealty and left the service of Apophis, and except for the tattoo he cannot remove, he no longer wears his signs. Why do people not get the wrong idea when O'Neill wears his hoodie? O'Neill is a tough guy, and he maintains his allegiance to the Air Force, and openly displays this by wearing his dog tags everywhere. It is puzzling.

3. The Tau'ri are free. Why are they not unified?

Try as he might, Teal'c cannot understand this. Clearly a planet united is stronger and better able to provide for the needs of its people. It seems very, very short sighted, and Teal'c was inclined, for many years, to see this as a side effect of the shorter lifespan of the Tau'ri as compared to the Jaffa. Tau'ri are less inclined to take the long view, but better able to wring every drop of enjoyment out of the moment at hand. They have a gift for living in the moment.

After the Goa'uld fell, and the Jaffa became free, Teal'c changed this to "The Tau'ri and the Jaffa are both free. Why can they not unify?" As Bra'tac put it, "One is never too old to learn new things about the nature of intelligent beings, Teal'c." This was obviously true, and wise, but it really challenged Teal'c's belief in the perfectability of such beings.

4. Tau'ri food is excellent. What do they do to it when they make M.R.E.s that so affects the quality?

No one on base, from his fellow members of SG-1, to General Hammond, or even the cooks in the commissary or the scientists in the lab can answer this one. Perhaps one day, when O'Neill and he have the leisure to explore this world, they can go to Tyler, Texas and find out.

5. What is "the hokey pokey", and why do Tau'ri do this?

When he asks about this one night around a campfire (having seen an airman arriving in his civvies that morning wearing a t-shirt reading What if the Hokey Pokey really is what it's all about?), the rest of the team starts singing and gesticulating, but they offer no further explanation. The Tau'ri are occasionally simply inexplicable.

1. Teal'c Understands Circumcision.

It is clean. It is also the custom among the Jaffa. Some Tau'ri do not practice this. It just goes to show, as far as Teal'c is concerned, that they are so very free that some of them choose not to avail themselves of the niceties of civilization. Daniel Jackson disagrees, and says that the difference lies instead in the religious views and personal philosophies of the parents of each man, as well as the advice of the medical personnel who attended them in their childhood. That may be true, but Teal'c cannot help but view those who are circumcised as coming from more discerning and cultured backgrounds. O'Neill says he would rather not discuss this matter on the base or anywhere else for that matter. For such a bold warrior, he is surprisingly inhibited.


Part One, here at The Pentangular Gate and also Part Two


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 11th, 2012 11:04 am (UTC)
Teal'c has lots of good questions!
Apr. 11th, 2012 04:27 pm (UTC)
Well, as Daniel pointed out in Lost City, Teal'c's deep. His question in #5 is mine though, and Teal'c's just borrowing it. I've wondered about that one since I was three. Grownups can be so inscrutable.
Apr. 11th, 2012 01:14 pm (UTC)
Teal'c! Thanks for sharing these interesting thoughts.

Melissa M.
Apr. 11th, 2012 04:28 pm (UTC)
You are so very welcome!
Apr. 12th, 2012 05:47 pm (UTC)
LOL! Ohhh Teal'c. :) The ONE THING that Teal'c DOES understand made me almost literally laugh out loud, and I'm at work. hehe.
Apr. 13th, 2012 07:29 am (UTC)
Yeah, I find that I'm enjoying writing Teal'c more and more as time goes by, because he may not say much, but there's clearly a great deal going on in there, and it's such fun to contemplate just what that might be.

I'm glad you managed not to get yourself in trouble with a LOL, but I'm proud to have caused the problem! ;)
Apr. 13th, 2012 07:13 pm (UTC)
I always enjoy moments when I catch a glimpse of my own culture through someone else's eyes. This piece was really well done! Excellent questions, all. Especially about the hokey pokey... why *do* we do that? and the mental image of SG1 all suddenly doing the hokey pokey really made me laugh *g*
Apr. 23rd, 2012 05:40 am (UTC)
I found the hokey pokey to be utterly inexplicable when I first encountered it at three, and although I have a greater grasp of deliberate silliness and activities designed to occupy and amuse the young, I still find it a little... opaque.

And this from the woman who loves to inflict

Chickens, chickens, in my hair.
I've got chickens in my hair,
some are here, and some are there,
Chickens in my hair.
Oh Bay-beh...

on my poor defenseless offspring when they are young.

And yeah, I love the idea of SG-1 all doing the hokey pokey for a bemused and ever more mystified Teal'c: Jack pokerfaced save for a slight twinkle to his eye, because he knows that a big grin would make it all too easy to figure out, Sam earnest and a little concerned that she might not get some of the words or gestures quite right, because she hasn't thought of the hokey pokey for years and Daniel breaking unison with the others from time to time to use one hand to push up his glasses.

I'm glad you enjoyed!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )



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