Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Magic of Words

Words really are amazing.

We select letters from an available set of symbols, arrange them in a certain way and create an idea that others can understand. It's a wondrous process.

Words are powerful objects. They can tell someone how you feel about them. They often impact how we feel about ourselves. Words express our ideas on politics, religion, health matters and nearly every phase of life.

Few things are as exciting to young parents as baby's first words. Speech confirms that the parents are in possession of a small person with whom they can communicate verbally. Sharing spoken ideas can bond or spoil relationships. Telling someone in haste something you should have thought over more carefully can be dangerous, whether it is verbal conversation or pressing "send" on the computer. Best to think things over.

The most regrettable error most of us make is not telling another person how much you appreciate them. Sometimes we think that the other person must instinctively know how much they mean to us or how much they annoy us. And so they choose to say nothing. Failing to tell someone is often a missed opportunity that may not reappear.

There are also certain personality types who use and sometimes abuse language.

One of my personal peeves concerns "The Nay-Sayer." This is the person who seems unable to say something nice or even agreeable. We have all known people like this and being around them is like hitting your head against the wall. It is pleasant only when you stop. "Good morning, Susan. I like that blouse," one might offer. "Oh, this old thing? I hate the way it drapes. I only wore it because everything else was in the laundry." Or "Did you have a nice weekend?" "Heck no. Everything went wrong," might be the response, followed by a list of every activity that occurred including the dog throwing up on the carpet on Saturday at 2:00. No, actually it was more like 2:30. At this point the inquiring person would rather go out the nearest window than continue the conversation, but realizes that he/she is hooked into listening for the immediate future.

Then there is "The Source," a person who knows (or reports to know) all the latest gossip around an office or community -- and easily shares the information with everyone. Sorry ladies, but this is often a female individual, although I am unsure why. Perhaps it is because many of us feel comfortable in confiding information to a female figure (mother, sister, wife). Perhaps it is because women often absorb what is being said in their proximity. For whatever reason, The Source gathers rumors and then feels free to spread them. The information shared may not be true, but that is not the concern of The Source.

Another language abuser is The Clueless individual. We all know this person. He/she may be participating in a conversation with others when someone looks at The Clueless person and remarks, "What do you think about that?" The Clueless one may have been faking eye contact, perhaps even nodding as others talked. Suddenly he/she realizes that a question has been asked. "Huh?" he/she sputters. "I was asking what you thought about the matter," is repeated. "I don't really know," he/she offers, smiling. In truth, he/she has no idea what was being discussed but merely wanted to be included in the group conversation.

Words are valuable commodities and not to be used lightly.

This brings me to a proposed solution to the nation's present economic woes. Perhaps we should charge a tax for word usage based upon each word's impact. Politicians would be forced to carefully weigh which words they use. The more a word wastes the listener's time, the higher its tax rate. This might cut down drastically on the babble that fills the evening news.

Stop the blithering or pay accordingly. Not a bad plan, huh?

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