I am agog. If I am adept at anything, it is language. If this essay does not induce horripilation, I do not know what will. This essay, not to show restraint (restraint limits one’s capacity), is one of candor. Open your mind. Though I come across as gruff, my amatory intentions cannot be shirked. You yourself are a change agent – and a powerful one, at that.
We hear them, feel them, think them, write them, and speak them. Clichés – worms of the unconscious - “How are you?” “How is your day going?” “I’m well.” “Everything is fine.” – are ensconced in language. But they are empty and disingenuous - perfunctory and robotic. Quotidian – we hear and speak them more than we should. “The weather is beautiful.” “Love is in the air.” “You look nice today.” I would rather one abstain from such banal observations than give worms of the unconscious more reason to burrow.
Be original, creative - guileful. It is not difficult to summon your inner Picasso – paint yourself a more vibrant language: one that does not bore your listeners, or readers. Expression is a fine art: take your brush and paint strokes of raw emotion.
“The world is a lonely place.” “Listen to your heart.” “A small act of kindness can make a big difference.” “Everything happens for a reason.” Such tawdry musings—though worldly, which discounts them—linger, lugubriously floating and careening, in the minds of sterile Homo sapiens. How are we to evolve if we cannot unfetter ourselves from clichés?
Verbicides - “Cool!” “Gay!” “Breeze!” “Queer!” “Sweet!” - are abysmally doltish. Why must these words be given a second meaning? Their original meaning has been willfully distorted. Language is not seemingly doomed. Language is doomed. Cool means moderately cold, not acceptance or approval. Gay means happy, not homosexual! Further, breeze means moderate wind (2 – 14 mph), not easy. Queer means strange, not homosexual! Sweet describes a food or drink high in sugar content – it does not mean awesome.
“The day grows old and tired.” “I love you.” “I’m bored.” “Will you marry me?” “She took a stroll through the park.” “Another one bites the dust.” “Atta boy.” “Atta girl.” “Congratulations!” “I miss you!” “Good morning!” “Good night!” Languor was our womb, and languor will be our grave: a just course for a race that never had a glow to wane.
Kismet, our higher power, has us by our free will. “Jesus loves me.” “Jesus is my Savior.” “I believe in God.” “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.” “If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.” “Where God guides, God provides.” I have long been of the opinion religion makes otherwise sensible people say and do insensible things.
“Back in a sec.” “Blew him away.” “Take more shots.” “No brainer.” “Nothing personal.” “I’m sorry.” Such utterances are not echt. A child could do better – much better, in fact. Perspective helps language tremendously. The language you employ binds the universe in which you live. “You are so pretty.”
“You are so handsome.” “I’m proud of you.” “You wear that outfit well.” “I’m glad you don’t smoke.” “I’m glad you don’t drink.” “I’m glad you’re not me.” Pecksniffian stupidity – smug benevolence is as damning and defining as empty sincerity.
“Nothing personal.” “Nod off.” “I heard him.” “Under a microscope.” “Under the table.” “The birds are chirping.” “You lost me.” “That’s true.” “That’s false.” No justification, no reasoning – mere lackadaisical reverberation of an unseasoned tongue. There are inconsistencies, as well. For example, we say, “Son of a bitch!” - but not “Daughter of a bastard!” Why? Homo sapiens – we are not beaux esprits.
David Levithan amusingly says, “I do not say ‘good-bye.’ I believe that’s one of the bullshittiest words ever invented. It’s not like you’re given the choice to say ‘bad-bye’ or ‘awful-bye’ or ‘couldn’t-care-less-about-you-bye.’ Every time you leave, it’s supposed to be a good one. Well, I don’t believe in that. I believe against that.” I share the same sentiment. Every cliché is bilge.
Thought and language rise and fall together. Corrupt thought engenders corrupt language. And corrupt language engenders corrupt thought. Further, healthy thought engenders healthy language. And healthy language engenders healthy thought.