Use Your Words

Words people should and could wean out of their vocabulary:

like
thing
stuff

We don’t even notice how many times a day we use the word like.

The art of speaking is being able to select the minnimum number of words to describe exactly the point you’re trying to get across, how you’re feeling, the way a food tastes, etc.

Eloquence.

I worked for a mad scientist my senior year of highschool, Joel. He had grown up in New York with Orthodox Jewish parents. He had the entire dictionary memorized, as well as the Old Testament and loved to make people, like me, look bad at parties by showing off his knowledge and history of Christianity and simultaneously showing off my ignorance, despite my being a self-acclaimed, and foreign mother dictated, Catholic.

The novelty of vulgarity hadn’t worn off since the first week of 6th grade. I was then in Middle School, a big kid. Joel challenged me to not curse. This was 6 years after I’d made some 6 words a key addition to my vernacular. Well, not when I was around my parents, a work, school or at church, of course.

I got to thinking, anybody can call somebody an asshole, but if you try to explain why you don’t like the person or what they have done to upset you, not only is it more difficult, but you are forced to reevaluate why you don’t like them and it is much more satisfying when you do think of an insult.

The guy is a lazy cheapskate who always mooches off of me.

I was at my favorite cafe today waiting to meet a friend for lunch. I overheard a guy talking about “when China switched from like feudal monarchy to that communist thing”

I once had a class – an Organic Chemistry course in which the professor took the first week of lecture to acquaint the students, with the vocabulary pertinent to that subject matter. Technically we had all been studying chemistry for at least 3 or 4 years but it was amazing how many processes we could not properly describe using chemistry terminology. He told us to not bother coming to office hours or even asking a question in lecture if we were going to use words like “thing” in reference to a water molecule. It was a wonderful learning exercise, I learned how to describe processes that I’d technically been learning for years, but now actually understood.

Use Your Words.
A common phrase used by pre-school teachers and mothers teaching toddlers to speak. Or at least it should be.

We have words to our advantage – let’s use them instead of throwing tantrums, which I’m disappointed to say do not go away with age or education level.

1 comment on “Use Your Words

  1. I was in McDonalds the other day and I was thinking about parts of speech that seem universal. Funny that you should write about something similar. I’m glad that you’ve found a public forum for your thoughts. Perhaps more importantly, I hope you’re finding it good practice for when you become the writer that defines our generation!!

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