The Oxford English Dictionary Word of the Day yesterday was… ‘no’.
Yes, it was ‘no’. I’ll have to commit that word to memory and try to use it in a sentence every now and then. That way, my use of it will take on a certain verisimilitude. I’m not like those other losers who just throw these 10 dollar words around to make themselves seem super smart. No, (tee hee, I just used it) I use words as a means of expression, not a call to self importance.
I’ve been a subscriber to the OED Word of the Day for four years now and my vocabulary is much richer for the experience. Of course, I do worry that using all these new-found words of OED esteem will render me incomprehensible to those who use a lower class of vocabulary. Who but an Oxford Scholar will understand me when I say, “NO, I do not see the DUCK on the LAKE,” (all three capitalized words being recent OED Words of the Day).
I suppose I will need to use discretion when talking to people. If my wealth of vocabulary overwhelms them, I will know from the expressions on their faces. I have already decided that I will be charitable towards their ignorance. It’s not their fault that their vocabulary hasn’t been enriched by the OED. If anything, their ignorance presents an opportunity for me to enlighten them, and in so doing, reenforce those words in my own vocabulary. Teaching something is a great way to learn something.
This reminds me of something interesting. There is no visual way to express ‘NO’, or ‘NOT’. A photograph of a tree says ‘tree’. It cannot say ‘not tree’. An image of a smoker says ‘smoker’. It cannot say, ‘not smoker’. Words or symbols need to be added to the image to communicate it’s opposite meaning. Even negative themed advertisements can only use positive images to express an idea. A black and white photograph of a homeless person passed out in an ally, cannot communicate ‘NOT a homeless person in an ally’. The idea of ‘No’ or ‘not’ exists only in words.
Hmmm…. can it be that all things are positive until we place some negative idea upon it? Can you say that about abusive relationships or Japanese nuclear reactors? Perhaps I’m confusing values with simple statements of truth. Things are what they are, until we say they are not so.
Maybe when we say ‘no’ or ‘not’, we have some explaining to do. Maybe when we see an abusive relationship, the hardest thing for the people involved is to accept the truth that the relationship is indeed abusive.
Perhaps closer to my own situation, is my freelance artist/writer/filmmaker lifestyle an exercise in futile sustainability?
Yes or No?
I’ve been doing it fifteen years. Raised vast sums of money in that time. Blew a half million dollars on misguided dreams, people and infrastructure. Times are lean now. The industry is changing. Still, others are not only making a living, but they’re thriving. I’m one phone call away from being back in the game. One phone call.
Am I mistaken to let so much ride on one single moment in time?
Yes or no?