by Dan Seagren
Posted: December 20, 2015
Without words life would be shallow. We would not even be able to say Merry Christmas!…
Hunky dory You sound like a broken record and Hung out to dry, Buggy whip! Jalopy. You sound like a broken record, Hubba-hubba! Heavens to Betsy! Gee Whillikers! Jumping Jehoshaphat! Holy moley! knucklehead, nincompoop, not for all the tea in China! Spats, knickers, fedoras, poodle skirts, saddle shoes and pedal spats, knickers, fedoras, poodle skirts, saddle shoes and pedal pushers. Oh, my aching back. Kilroy was here. Poof go the words of our youth, the words we've left behind.
Fiddlesticks! See ya later, alligator! These were words of yesterday which many of us Seniors have long forgotten. Or have we? As a youth I remember when I had to wear knickers (remember those?) which were outdated then. Then there were words known only to the inner circle which did frustrate outsiders. And I suppose this isn't a lost cause nowadays.
Even though I have written quite a few books, articles, columns, sermon notes, letters and whatever, my companions are a dictionary, thesaurus, pen and pencil, typewriter, computer, printer, publisher, editor, critic (even silent ones), and friend(s). For me (and not those famous authors), I get numbers for my webpage hits but no idea if they took a peek or actually read anything. Likewise my books. As they say, What you don't know won't hurt you. Not really true, is it?
What else important can be lost relating to words? For one, bodily expressions missing when texting. Such an important factor is the spoken language. What else? Words with multiple meanings (or inferences) understood only in their context. Any more? Volume speaks quite clearly. How about eye contact? Misspelling can be subtle, misleading, comical or tragic.
Language is an amazing phenomenon. As a retired clergyman, I have wondered what language God used when He talked to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. And that serpent? How did they learn? How long did it take? An instant gift? We have a good idea how Cain and Abel learned to speak, don't we? But aren't we humans unique? After all, animals communicate, so do birds, but do they use words and tenses and dictionaries? Do they celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and weekends, Thanksgiving and Christmas?
True, action can speak louder than words and I suppose words can speak louder than actions. But without words, even outdated and archaic, life would be so shallow. We wouldn't even be able to write M E R R Y C H R I S T M A S would we?
Dan Seagren is an active retiree whose writings reflect his life as a Pastor, author of several books, and service as a Chaplain in a Covenant Retirement Community.• E-mail the author (su.nergaesnad@brabnad*) • Author's website (personal or primary**)
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