Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I Love Words, Just Not These Words

I still remember the conversation, and it's been at least 30 years ago. My boss on the weekly newspaper was editing an obituary and she looked over at me, her cub reporter.

"I only need one thing on my tombstone," she said. "It needs to say 'She Loved Words.'"

What a wonderful epitaph. I love words, too. I love the sentiments they convey, I love the feeling in my mouth when I say "palomino," or "hot diggity," or "onomatopoeia." I love that I can get a thousand of them for only one picture, which is a most amazing exchange rate.

For the same reason I love them, though, I can develop an aversion to words. Sometimes it's because they sound stupid (flunk, blubber, fatuous) but more often it's because they're used stupidly.

Right now, the words that are making me roll my eyes are the ones that obviously were chosen to make the speaker sound klassy-with-a-'k'--the words that are favorites of the same kind of people who came up with the unbearably awful Bravely Onward advertising campaign for a local bank. (No, I'm not linking to them. They equate internet clicks with admiration, and your click will only reward them for this execrable idea.)

Strive. Reside. Endeavor.

Please, don't strive. Just try. Don't reside, live someplace. And don't endeavor, just try, try, again.

Those of us who love words will thank you.

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