I was taken aback by part of a comment that June made after my last post. She has a friend who doesn't want to read the books that June recommends because she "doesn't like to learn new words". EGAD and OMG! Writing and reading are the greatest developments of the human species. It's what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. With the possible exception of domestic felines. Jezebel sits next to the laptop and corrects my spelling and grammar. This friend of June is a communications anarchist! She's engendering a mutiny upon the human race! She should be pilloried--immediately after that word is defined for her.
Perhaps her lexicophobia is due in part to the confusion of word meanings. So many words in the English language have multiple meanings that can derail the rational thinker's train of thought. For example--just the other day I heard it announced that Prince Albert of Monaco was engaged to be married. To a commoner. It's a rather dismissive description for someone who isn't Royalty. Despite being an accomplished human being, this beautiful young lady is a commoner. She's about to marry Royalty. I hope she doesn't believe marriage is going to 'up her ante'. I mean, after all, getting paid a lot of money to do little or nothing except cut a few ribbons and pose for photos isn't exactly contributing to the greater good is it? I guess since their faces are on the currency they assume it belongs to them.
The word 'common' is an interesting word and shows up frequently in our daily language. Let's take a look at some other examples, shall we?
Common Ground: A mythical land where people of contradictory opinion seemingly create a level playing field from which each opponent can plot to seize the moral high ground.
Common Market: A place where everyone from everywhere is invited to make money fulfilling supply and demand. Except for those who have more demand than supply and vice versa. The only one making a profit is the landlord.
Boston Common: (This also applies to any city's 'common'). A pastoral area set aside in an urban setting where people of all classes, creeds, and colours can ignore one another equally.
Common Courtesy: Thoughtful consideration of others. Practiced by thoughtful, considerate people and is becoming rarer as these people are on the verge of extinction.
Common Sense: The application of practicality. Something everyone has access to but rarely utilizes. Invoked by people in judgement of others. Politicians use it as a campaign vote-getter but widely ignore its existence until they can figure out how to regulate and tax it.
Common Soldier: An oxymoron. There is nothing common about soldiers. They are extraordinary individuals.
I hope this little exercise helps those who fear words and the power they have. They are healing balms in the right mouths and hands and weapons of acute destruction in the wrong ones. Choose your words carefully--you may have to eat them someday. It's a common fact of life. Please pass the salt.
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