In The Beginning

//In The Beginning

In The Beginning

In the beginning was the word . . . oh, to be back at the simple beginning with just “the word”!  Now?  The Global Language Monitor (GLM) – who knew an organization kept track? – announced the 1,000,000th English word on June 10, 2009 (at 10:22 am GMT to be precise).

As a wordsmith, a seeker of the perfect word to describe a thing, then a perfect way to string the perfect words together and then a perfect story to tell stringing the perfect words together perfectly, I’m well aware of the numerous choices, their numerous meanings and I honestly thought we’d have zipped past a million ages ago.

But we create new words fast, one every 98 minutes, so about 14.7 words per day.  I created one just this past week when I called my (almost) one-year-old granddaughter Naomi Lou a “sparkle-bug”.  She just looks like one.  Oh . . . no, wait a second, I just googled it and there’s Facebook pages, a Twitter account, a face-painting company, all called “sparkle-bug”.  I’m obviously not the first one to have thought of it.

So, if we have so very many words at our fingertips to accurately describe our minds to one another, why are we so often misunderstood?

In my case, it’s because I live with a man who’s life in rock and roll – not playing it, but hosting it – has fried, I mean fried, his ears.  When I say something to B, I expect to say it twice.  Let me tell you, that can make you rethink what you are about to say.  Is it really that important?  If I’m in a position to be totally aware, that is if I’m not distracted (B would say by Facebook, but that’s just because it’s new for me, I have complete control over it, it’s not an addiction, don’t believe a word – there it is, “word” again – he says) I prepare myself to speak up and enunciate.  It doesn’t matter though, because perhaps B is distracted.  He was so distracted last Saturday reading about his precious Iowa Hawkeyes (don’t call them budgies, even if the logo looks like a budgie – he takes offense to that) football team on his tablet that he actually missed seeing the kick-off on the giant-screen TV in front of him!

So, this is what one must do:  say what you want to say once to get the person’s attention, then say it again.  And don’t get that attitude in your voice the second time around!  That just starts a fight.

Example:  B and I leave Grand Bend Monday morning to go to the house.  6 a.m.  A ridiculous hour.  I miss a step on the front porch heading to the car in the dark, spilling half of my coffee all over my decorative scarf.  I climb in the car, B hands me a napkin.  I’m wiping it off and I hear Taz, Jim and Sherrie babbling on and on and on on FM 96 about this comedian, how offensive he is – isn’t that a comedian’s job? – and I say to B, but probably not loud enough, “Who are they talking about?”  B shrugs.  We’ve reached the corner by now and they finally say his name:  Dane Cook.  I repeat it.  “Dane Cook.”  But B, immersed in his own thoughts, or maybe even still dreaming, thinks I’ve forgotten something at the cottage and slams on the brakes, causing more coffee to spill on my scarf.  Annoyed, I repeat, loudly, between clenched teeth, “I just said ‘Dane Cook’ – that’s who they’re talking about!”

Well, now what we have is a silent forty-minute ride home.  There is no point in telling him how the kids once pulled up Dane Cook YouTube videos for me and we laughed and laughed and laughed.  While giving B the silent treatment, I have lots of time to think about what it was like for he and I “in the beginning”, when our hearts and minds were so mysteriously in sync.

Sitting at the stability of the kitchen table a half hour later, sipping another coffee, I read my horoscope, loud and clear, and he hears me the very first time.

“Take care of a serious situation early in the day so you can move on to happier moments.”

“You call that a ‘serious situation’?”  B says.

And we both laugh.  Then B hugs and kisses me good-bye.  As he heads off for work, I think about how great it is that sometimes, despite the million-plus words available, we humans have the ability to communicate without using any of them.



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