Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Think You for Your Service

          Okay, here's what I believe is happening:

          We have access to so much information these days. It washes over us even when we aren't paying attention. There are words (and images, but my primary concern in this rant is words) everywhere. So so many words. Words words words words words.
Pretty soon one word seems as good as another, especially since they just float by in the constant rush of words we process every day. Who has time to evaluate whether they're the right words, or the best words, or even the words that make sense? Who cares? Proofreading? Pfft—as extinct and useless as the dodo.

          Me, I love words. I love their nuance. I love their expressiveness. I even love their odd little spellings. I like the shadings of meaning that come with words: glimmer, glisten, twinkle, shine, sparkle—each means something slightly different. Each helps to build a specific image. I adore that. I adore how I can shade meaning with just the right word. I like the words I read to be the right words, not the almost-right ones.

          I know this is a peccadillo on my part—possibly a character flaw. I don't expect anyone else to share my passion (although I do expect to be treated as gently as one would treat anyone else suffering from a harmless obsession). I have learned to accept the fact that, for most people in their relationship with words, the difference between the fire and the fire-fly, to paraphrase Mark Twain, is neglible. Close enough.

          But sometimes you probably do want to get the words right. Like when you're being all patriotic and we-love-our-service-men-and-women. At those times, you probably want to thank them for their service, not think them.

          Because, you know, words actually do matter.

This ad appeared recently in the local paper. I've blurred the business
name because I'm sure they feel terrible about this blunder, and
I don't really feel the need to taunt them for it.

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