A short, fluffy post today. Nothing deep and meaningful here. My feelings won’t be hurt if you decide to pass.
But I need to publicly commit to striking a few words from my vocabulary. And by the way, “fluffy” is not among them. I love fluffy. What a fun word. Say it to yourself: Fluffy. Conjures up cotton candy, a warm duvet, Simpsons clouds, that dollop of crème Chantilly atop a sumptuous strawberry shortcake. My Corgi is fluffy. Fluffy is here to stay.
The words I abuse are words I use when I speak, not so much when I write. So you may not have noticed my egregious, chronic misuse of them. Nevertheless, here they are, in order of the severity of misuse:
Thing. This has become my go-to word for just about everything, especially when speaking with my husband. “Hey Jim, will you please bring me that thing from the laundry room?” Or, “I need to get that thing fixed on my car.” The problem is, he gets it.
This one scares me. It has entered my spoken vocabulary with viral swiftness. I catch myself using it all the time. I wonder why. I have several theories. One is that I am just being lazy. When you live with someone long enough, you can finish sentences and read minds. When I say to my husband, “We need to get that thing to our finance people,” he knows I mean the Form 1098-C for our tax return. “Thing” is just easier than remembering one of a zillion IRS tax form names. Lazy. Another theory is that my short-term memory is going and I am starting to do that thing old people do. My parents’ generation is prone to use “thing-a-ma-jig” and “do-dad.” Might “thing” be my “do-hickey”? I shudder to think.
One of my husband’s favorite jokes to tell: Two older couples are riding in the car, husbands in the front, wives in the back. Fred, riding shotgun, says to Bob, “We ate at a great restaurant last night, but dang, I can’t remember the name of it.” Ponders a moment, then to Bob, “What’s the name of that flower, the one with thorns?” Bob says, “A rose?” Fred smiles. “Yeah, that’s it!” Then, to his wife in the back seat, “Rose, what’s the name of that restaurant we went to last night?”
Crazy. I have got to quit using this word. Anything out of the ordinary happens, my response? “That’s crazy.” You forgot your toothbrush on your business trip? Crazy. It’s raining for the third day in a row? Crazy. The dry cleaner forgot to include your khaki slacks? Crazy.
Interesting. This one is, well, interesting. It’s the go-to word when your coworker says she’s going on an all pistachio and kiwi diet. “Hmm!” you say, “That’s interesting!” When really you’re thinking that’s the dumbest freaking thing I have heard all day. Interesting, as in, “You’ll love her. She’s interesting. She makes her own clothes.” Sometimes when either Jim or I use “interesting” in conversation, we’ll give each other that knowing look that says, “Do you mean ‘interesting’ as in she makes her own clothes?”
Weird. Weird is a mean word. I’ve even forgotten what it really means. I had to Google it. As an adjective, it means “suggesting something supernatural; uncanny.” It’s often misspelled. How many times have you typed “wierd” and your computer auto corrected it? The old rule “i” before “e” except after “c” doesn’t work here. And even weirder, it’s apparently also a verb: suggesting something supernatural; uncanny. But yeah, now that I think about it, I have been known to say something weirded me out. That’s weird.
Stuff. Stuff is like thing, only plural. I won’t belabor this one. Stuff is a ridiculously, embarrassingly lazy word.
Great. Great is so overused. It should be reserved for use when describing something truly monumental. My father used to say, “John Wayne was a great, great man.” Well done, dad. He also said the same of Richard Nixon. Interesting. Great is not a bad word, but I need to mix it up. It’s ok to text your friend who had you over last night, saying, “Thanks, we had a great time!” But maybe I could put in a little more effort. “Dinner was superb, the wines perfectly paired, the conversation sparkling.” Something like that.
Like. Facebook is already onto this one, with the addition of their Love, Wow, Sad, Angry… icons. Your friend posts that he lost his beloved dog today, and you have to show your sympathy by “Liking” it? Hey, you had to put Lefty down, thumbs up! But I am giving up like in a different way. I think being on the younger end of the baby boomer group, I occasionally slip into the Valley Girl use of like, as in, “… and I was all, like, sure they’re real.”
So that’s it. I’m, like, going to make a great effort to use different, more interesting words to describe the things and the crazy stuff that happen every day. It may be weird at first, but I think I can do it.
What about you? Any tidying up you need to do?