From the White River Current - Thursday April 25, 2013
Well, here we are, almost to the end of another month into the second year of these bi-weekly visits. I was thinking that it might be a good time to take a look at one of my favorite subjects: words. I am announcing, today, the addition of a new word to Reed’s list of misused/overused words and phrases. The word is “absolutely.” This word has gained great popularity among the guests on talk shows and in television interviews. It has all but extinctified its cousin words, “definitely” and “exactly.” I fully expect to be present in a meeting in the near future and hear the chairman exclaim “All in favor of the motion, let it be known by saying “absolutely.” (Those opposing the motion would probably be asked to say “negatory” or something like that but we’ll think about that at a later time.) The chairman will then announce “…and the absolutelys have it.” Remember, you heard it here first. Even though the new word on the list is widely used (or misused), it has a long way to go to catch up with the two words/phrases that are firmly entrenched at the top. One of these is actually a welding together of the words “you” and “know” and is pronounced “YANO.” I sometimes catch myself mentally counting the number of times a particular individual might use this language abuse in a normal conversation. This expression has become such a part of our everyday informal speech that even I have been accused of uttering these words. I suspect that “no, you don’t know and, in addition, you don’t want to know,” so why do I keep saying that? Anyway, the other word/phrase at the top of my list makes me wince every time I hear it, which is often. So popular, especially among younger adults (but not entirely), that it has its own acronym, “OMG”. Apparently this makes it more convenient to use in e-mails and twitters. This combination of three words is used as an expression of surprise or awe or a variety of other reasons or for no reason at all. It can be uttered quickly, like “ohmy…” or to greatly enhance the astonishment level, stretch it out to “Ohhhhhhh Myyyyyyy ……..D. Call me a pious prude if you want, but I am offended by the use (misuse) of the name of the Almighty in this frivolous manner. When I way a boy, it was very rare that you heard anyone use the “name” in vain. Just something that was not done, especially in public. The worst thing my mother would utter, when surprised, was “goodness gracious” whereas my dad might say “Great Scott” or “thunder and lightning.” I believe any of these exclamations of my parents would convey as much of an element of surprise (or whatever) as would OMG and would certainly be more acceptable. It might even be Biblical (look it up). Unfortunately, we live in a society where we are told that the First Amendment allows us to say whatever we so desire. Maybe so, but that doesn’t mean that we have to say something, especially if it is offensive to the other person. Our children, starting in kindergarten, are taught to be “tolerant” referring mainly to racism and alternate lifestyles. I like the word, “tolerance” but I believe it is a two-way street. Doesn’t seem to be happening in our society today, mainly because of political correctness. I see evidence that the pendulum is beginning to swing the other way. It won’t be too soon for me. Years ago, the great singer Nat King Cole recorded a very moving song by the title “Nature Boy.” The song tells a fantasy of a “strange enchanted boy…who wandered very far” only to learn that “the greatest thing…was just to love and be loved in return”. Wouldn’t it be great if we could do that? You can listen to Nat’s version of this haunting melody on Youtube. Just meditating and humming along in my corner of the Queen City of the Ozarks, Beautiful Calico Rock. See you in two weeks. Bye, Bye!