The Trouble With Words

Words are clumsy. They will tie your tongue. They will embarrass you in front of the cute girl in school. Words will tie your shoelaces together. Words are the mean boys in gym class who pants you.

Yes, yes. There are pretty ones too. You will never date them. You’ll forget the pretty word’s name. You’ll think to yourself, that perfect word, the one with three syllables, what was its name again?

Words will seduce you and leave you. Words will lift your wallet out of your pocket. Words will step out of a dark alley and slice. You never saw it coming.

Words will hack your computer and steal your identity. When you call to report the crime you won’t know how to spell steal. Is it s-t-e-a-l or the other one? You won’t be able to remember the word identity. That’s just the way words are. Where are they when you need them? Slipping and sliding around some corner of your brain, only to wake you up at night and chant to you, “You should have said this. You should have said that. You are so stupid.” That’s words for you.

Words are your worst enemy masquerading as your best friend. They don’t care about you. How could they? These little marks on a page that come spooling out of your pen. At least with handwriting they have some admirable curves and turns and fancy shapes. On a computer they come marching across the screen like some stiff-stepping imperialist army. They even finish themselves, so that day lily becomes daylight? And pheromones becomes phone? And if you try to write sonnet they say sofa.

They always think they know better than you. Words are bossy. They own you. You need them more than they need you, and they know it, and they act like it. As soon as they meet you they’re planning a paternity suit, or a divorce settlement, or opening an account with an alimony check you don’t remember writing.

Whatever you get paid to work with them, it will not be enough for a long, long time, if ever. But we know that and we keep coming back. We are words’ whores and they are our pimps. They bail us out of jail and put us back on the street again.

This entry was posted in fun with what we do, Materials, Play, The Writer's Life, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Trouble With Words

  1. Vicki says:

    Thank you for reminding me about Marginalia! I’ve not been here in a while, and will enjoy reading!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *