"A word is dead
When it is said,
I say it just
Begins to live
Words can give you power, whether you realize it at the time or not. If someone tries to make you feel stupid--and they will--just add some syllables to your response. Just be sure you know what the polysyllabic rejoinders mean, or you'll sound as stupid as someone might be trying to make you feel.
Sometimes, like if you say "philatelist" instead of "stamp collector," you just sound kind of snotty. (You probably really don't, but since I'm not sure how to pronounce that, either, I just threw that in. You should hear me butcher juxtaposition and numismatist.)
I'm a fan of euphemisms, too. Of curse words that aren't quite as...cursey...as others. They probably are. I'm sure freaking is every bit as profane and intensely meant as the word it replaces, but I'm a lot more comfortable with it. So are others of us who thought the use of certain four-letter words was a certain path to hell. I mean heck.
My love of words has never lessened even as it has become harder to think of the ones I'm looking for when I talk and write. The correct term usually remains stubbornly on the tip of my tongue or locked into my keyboard, but the rightness of an expression is still like music.
What I don't love is the the hijacking of words for disparaging purposes. I've been tired of being called a snowflake for a couple of years now, yet snowflakes are beautiful things, art objects within themselves, clean and bright and perfect.
So maybe that's okay. If that's not how you mean it when you're talking to me...well, look it up.
The word retard became something ugly because of misuse. Having its second syllable appropriated to use as an epithet--libtard or Dotard anyone?--added insult to injury to a word never intended to be pejorative.
That's probably how people turned snowflake into an epithet, isn't it? They liked the way it sounded, the feelings it stirred up and hurt, the divisiveness it deepened.
I wonder if it's how homosexual became gay and queer and someone long ago thought the n-word was common usage and okay.
Words will always be some of my favorite things, but putting thought with them is an even bigger favorite. We should all try it sometime.
Title of this post taken from a line in the Bee Gees' song, "Words," with thanks.