Yesterday I had my internet service cut off to avoid distractions from my home projects (writing unreadable novel, reading unwritable novel, and other things). Meanwhile, getting on my bike, I laid my flip phone outside the doctor’s office, on a window ledge. An hour later, I discovered no phone and no way to call my phone with Skype to see if someone had picked it up. As I biked back to the doctor’s office, I pictured the phone gone and my getting that iPhone 5 that my phone company had been offering me for so little money for so long.
The streets I see are filled with big chunks of metal moving past, spewing gasses. That is how it appears to me, now, over a year since I sold my car. Sure, these chunks also include plastic, sometimes leather, probably rare earth metals for the electronics, and some stone for the glass. It is the metal, though, that contributes most to their mass, and that makes them seem disproportionately big and heavy when they are moving a 170 pound person up and down the road. According to Slate, the chunks weigh about 4,000 pounds, on average, with or without the driver.
A few days ago I told a few friends that, where I work, “ask” is now a noun, as in “what was the ask of the meeting?”
When my dad decided to forego “maintenance therapy” for his health condition, knowing that the therapy would thoroughly impoverish his ability to live a productive life, he told the health care professionals, “I want to die and receive the new body Jesus came to give me.” He had an exit strategy.
So…I was assigned a spot in the rear of a jumbo jet airliner from where I would shoot the occupants of two designated seats, one at either side of the plane, several rows ahead of me.
But before explaining that situation, I want to consider the relation between wording and persuasion, asking, How does one separate elegant wording from misleading thinking? If something is pithy, doesn’t it also seem true—whether or not it is?
Throughout my adult life, I’ve shied away from justifying decisions with the convenient disclaimer that it is “business, not personal.” Perhaps in part, I’ve not needed the phrase because I’ve also shied away from business. Lately, however, as the encumbrances of career and property accrue, I find myself using the formula occasionally.
Lying there, shirtless, I waited beneath the fluorescent lights, alone for a quarter hour, thinking how lonely a hospital room can be. And so it would have been, except I’m a veteran with this procedure.
In comes Surgeon, we greet, and I say, “Cut on me.” We locate the three lipomas that I want removed from my arms and chest, three being a standard insurable amount, and then he throws one more in for free—each now having its own X inked over it.
Already I’m happier.
I am more qualified to talk about grammar than war, although (the pending Syrian) war is the truly important item—so I will start with grammar.
The War on Grammar: We know that language simplifies itself over time. For example, the use of the apostrophe seems doomed. Half the people who see it’s importance, use it incorrectly (yes, I know, I did, and I know punctuation is not grammar, strictly speaking).
Last week our CEO walked by my cubicle, talking rapidly on a cell phone to someone from another company, “…I cannot believe you are still on [IBM’s] Lotus Notes. I was in a company that was where you are, and five years ago they switched over to Outlook…."
That is “beat” as in “surpassed,” not “treated violently.” Newsworthy the moment was because as everyone knows, there are few sports in which I could surpass Lucy.