“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”
― Rudyard Kipling
A quote about words?
Duck #2 is dedicated to a thought I had yesterday, and probably a mixture of thoughts I’m going to have while writing this…
I was driving in the car with my mom and looking at all the street signs we passed. Honestly, I think street names are one of the things in life that seems too simple to render such amazement. However, each time I look at a street sign, especially in an unfamiliar place, I am in a small state of awe as I wonder who came up with the names. Beyond the naming process, though, is the process of remembering which words are appropriate (out of the thousands of words) we know to use. Then, there is selecting that exact word. Just one word out of such a large quantity is chosen to give relevance to something that can really be just a minute detail. A street name.
But that’s enough about streets and their signs. Let’s go back to the whole selecting process. It’s amazing, don’t you think? As a child, you are taught only so many words in a particular year, but that does not amount to how many words you learn in a year. Our minds are giant melting pots. Inside are hundreds of thousands of pieces that make up the English language. In a matter of seconds, our brains take a handful of those pieces, align them in a row, construct the grammar correctly (hopefully), and form a sentence. Even though it takes thought to do this, 9 times out of 10, we don’t have to actually think about doing it. It just happens. Even as I’m typing now, it’s nearly effortless to bleed my thoughts onto my laptop.
People talk all the time. Conversations are had all the time. Thoughts are written all the time. Even with all this going on daily, how often do you hear someone say, “Guys! Do you realize how much we’re talking right now? Do you realize how much we’re saying right now? Do you understand how amazing this is?” Never, right? Well, not until now 😉
It truly is amazing, but as years have gone on, I think that the value of good words, good speech has been lost. More often than not, people are reading things that look like this: “yeh, man! i saw dat movie. it was gr8. u gon be @ da prty 2nite?”
Uhm..excuse me? Why is the value of words, actual words depreciating? Because we’re lazy? Because it’s “cool” to shorten and abbreviate certain words that “shorten” and “abbreviate” shouldn’t even apply to?
I truly feel that greats like, Sherwood Anderson, Walt Whitman, Henry James, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sherman Alexie, Flannery O’ Connor, Earnest Hemmingway, and any American Author gifted with, “a way with words” would be ashamed to associate with a country flooded and plagued with such poor usage of a beautiful language. (Yes, I know a vast amount of the English language is a conglomeration of other languages, but for all intents and purposes, we’re going to set that fact aside). For those of you who do not recognize those names, they are some of the people in this world that have gifted our country with beautifully written literature. Literature full of vivid imagery, captivating diction, and more than clever syntax. (Oh, I’m an English major, by the way. Can you tell? :D)
I think that because we are blessed with such a mind to recall and know when to use such a vast amount of words, why not take advantage of that? I mean, especially in America. What’s that right that our country always uses as a scapegoat, the one that is overused (sadly), the one that everyone gets all bent out of shape over? Oh, yeah…FREEDOM OF SPEECH! I know that this right does not literally mean we are free to use our mouths to talk, that we are free to make tangible and make coherent sounds, but why can’t that be the meaning? Why can’t we use our “freedom” to speak and speak well? To write and to write well? What’s stopping us?
[Lord, thank You for the ability to speak. Thank You for the mind You’ve given me. Help me to take advantage of this gift and to not waste it.]