Easter, Eggs, and The Etymologicon

“It’s narrow-minded to think words are nothing more than what the Oxford English Dictionary says they are. As a friend of mine said, ‘Remember that language is no more or less real than math, and words are no more things than unicorns.'”

Stressing Out College

My family, not being particularly religious, doesn’t celebrate Easter. The most we do is take my youngest siblings Easter egg hunting. Maybe eat at Red Robin. And that’s if we’re feeling particularly special on this otherwise normal Sunday.

Don’t worry, this isn’t an “Easter is a pagan holiday and Jesus doesn’t exist post.” Over on The Big Blog of All the S#!t I Know, I’ve been partaking in [not really] the April A-Z Challenge. The month is almost over and I’m only on the letter “E.” Hooray for laziness. And I’ve also been neglecting this blog, so I’m just using the topic of Easter as inspiration and to segue into talking about etymology (because it’s alliterative, of course).

Words are fascinating, to express my feelings simply. They rock my crocs and allow me to convey ideas both inane and relevant. As much as I aspire to be one…

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Presented to You: Your First Guest Blogger Who Loves Words

Hey. Howdy. Wassup. I’m a guest blogger and I’m gonna steal all of you guys over to my blog. BWHAHAHAHAHAHA! (Ok, just kidding. I’m sure BBK would not approve of that…) But, I will present to you guys a lovely post you all will adore. I am sure. It’s long, but you HAVE to finish reading it. Really. I really made an effort this time.

Ok, so post starts now.

Uh, just kidding, I mean now.

Or here.

Ok, seriously, it starts right here:

Words surround us everywhere. We use words to communicate. We use them to express thought. I used to wonder why you would use one word instead of another even if they meant the same exact thing (I never could figure out what the difference was between automobiles and cars, weren’t they the same thing?). I find words fascinating, even enchanting. You have so many options to express thought and sometimes it can be quite overwhelming. In an attempt to save us all (or at least just me) from the horrible word tsunami, I shall gather my magical brain juices and try to organize the English language for you (you’re welcome). Generally, I like to split words into two categories – casual speech and formal speech.

Casual speech is pretty obvious – basically what we say on a daily basis. Now if you’ll stop for a moment and investigate a little, you’ll notice that most people, when holding a completely normal conversation with another person [presumably a friend or an enemy or something in between (hopefully, because if you don’t fit into any of those categories, I don’t think you’re human then)] will on the average, use words that are less than 6 syllables long. Of course, there are exceptions occasionally like “incombustibility” or “indistinguishableness”, but then, who in their right mind goes around spewing “incombustibility” in their daily conversations every other minute? I certainly don’t.

Casual speech also contains a category called “curse words” (or “potty words” if you’re six years old and still pissing your pants). The most common bad word (and also probably the worst) is the horrible F-bomb. Why is it called the F-bomb? Because ideally, if anyone had it spurt out of their mouth, everyone else would cringe and go running away screaming just as if someone had dropped a bomb right in front of them. Well, too bad because that’s not true. In fact, in society, you have people screaming “Fuck!” literally every other word in their sentences. Don’t believe me? Then I shall present to you a perfect example.

Once, at the beach, I was sitting there very nonchalantly building a sand castle with my brother and failing because we couldn’t figure out why dry sand wouldn’t just stand up by itself, when these 21 year olds run past us screaming. One of them was holding a bag of some sort and looking into it. This was a transcript of what they said:

“Oh fuck! You got to be fucking kidding me? What the fuck did you fucking do to my fucking lunch you fucking idiot?”

“I didn’t fucking do any fucking thing to your fucking lunch, you fucker.”

“Then what the fuck is fucking wrong with my fucking lunch?”

“How the fuck should I fucking know? I’m not your fucking lunch!”

“God fucking damn it! You fucking owe me a fucking new lunch.”

“I don’t fucking owe you a fucking lunch you fucking fuck!”

“Fuck! What are we fucking going to fucking eat now?”

At this moment I decided to cut them out by throwing sand in my ears (which was a very bad idea, don’t do it if you don’t have to). Now that is truly annoying and probably the worst of the worst. Lord help us. I really hope I don’t meet anyone like this again.

Other than the F-bomb, you’ve got shit and crap, which both mean poop on different intensity levels. “I feel like shit.” and “I feel like crap.” mean slightly different things. But most hilarious of all though is the fact that you can’t replace shit or crap with poop. “I feel like poop.” sounds ridiculous. “You’ve got to be pooping me.” just sends a bad bad image to my mind, and “Oh poop.” sounds more like you realizing that there’s poop in the toilet rather than cursing. You’ve also got words like “asshole” or “shithead”. You’ve got “damn” and even (if you’re really sensitive) “hell”. Now don’t ask me why “hell” is considered a curse word yet “heaven” isn’t considered a complimentary word. You can say “Go to hell.” and expect someone to get upset, but you can’t say “Go to heaven.” and expect someone to be happy. Oh the weird logic of humans.

Now formal speech is just a tad bit more interesting. Formal speech can be split up into two categories in and of itself. You have normal formal speech and unnecessary formal speech. Now the first kind of formal speech is normal (hence, the reason why it’s called normal formal speech). This tends to be used for formal occasions and consists of words that are not necessarily longer, but simply just more polite. Curse words tend to be avoided and the more polite version of many of the words are used instead. But I want to focus specifically on the second type of formal speech – speech using an unnecessary amount of large and possibly obscure words to replace more commonly used words, such as using “metallic nourishing utensil with an elliptical end” for the word “spoon.” Oftentimes, I use it to mock something or someone, and other people probably do too, but it’s quite unfortunate to say that people actually use it for legitimate purposes. Probably one of the most simplest example is a high student who just learned a bunch of long uncommon SAT words and now simply drops them into some essay for school just to show how massive their vocabulary basin is. Well, guess what? You’re only making yourself look like an idiot. Let’s play a quick game.

Say you’re a bored, oh I don’t know, English teacher and you decided to pick up a random essay and read it just because you feel like it. So you find an essay with a rather bizarre title, and begin reading it. The opening sentence is this: “In a rathskeller, there was a concupiscent winebibber who was penultimate gambling. So, he became the osculator of an ebullient callipygian tapster.” So, without using the dictionary, can you tell me with certainty what this sentence means? Or what each word means? And how many words do you think you can define? (Ok, people who know an abnormally large amount of vocabulary don’t count.) Might your first reaction to this be: “Who the hell is crazy enough to write a sentence like this?”? Might you check the author and remember that it is some unfortunate teenager you teach?

Let’s just do a quick analysis of these bigs words that this unfortunate student (a.k.a. me and Thesaurus.com) has used in his sentence. A rathskeller is a tavern beneath ground, originally founded in Germany. Now, while that’s specific, wouldn’t it be much easier on the reader for him to just say “In an underground bar (possibly in Germany)” instead of using this random word that no one knows and expect them to just magically realize what it means? You have words in there that don’t flow, or allow for breathing room in this sentence. All the focus is on these overbearing large words that no one ever uses (at least not all together in a span of only 2 short sentences). You would drive someone insane if you spoke like that, not to mention people would seriously question your sanity as well.

The sentence, in human tongue is the following: “In an underground bar, there was a lustful drunkie who came in second to last gambling. So, he became the kisser of a zesty bartender who had a well rounded butt.” Ok. Bizarre and weird but understandable. At least it doesn’t look idiotically desperate.

So there you go. A wonderful educational experience that has taught you about the English language and the horrors people can make. I think I’ve covered as much as I can to the extent of my brain juices without going brain dead. Now if you don’t mind, I’ll be ending this right here. But before you finish this with a sigh of relief because “that girl has finally finished rambling about stupid stuff” I’ve got one final question to you. So, did I blow your cranial gray matter resting in your skull with my collection of letters in the formation of words and sentences to convey an idea?

LividFrost is a Sassy Sarcastic Asian just like BBK. She’s in high school right now, but one day, she is supposed to grow up. The whole 18 years old thing, but for now, she’s just another girl. Maybe awesomer. One day she will be famous and you’ll regret not knowing her better.

Suicidal Ideations and The Meaning of Life

“That life is worth living is the most necessary of assumptions, and, were it not assumed, the most impossible of conclusions.”

George Santayana (1863-1952)

“Is life worth living? This is a question for an embryo not for a man.”

Samuel Butler (1835-1902)

Flipping through a book of quotes, I came upon the two above. I looked at them for a long while with that feeling that these words were stirring something in my head and my chest, but unable to discern what they were exactly. Have you ever given yourself cause to pause for a mere feeling? Where you recognize that this is something worth looking at, worth turning over for a few more cycles in your mind before moving on to the next thing in your mundane little life. You could take the blue pill: close the book, turn away, and let the feeling dissolve back into the cushy ether of your contented self.

Or you could swallow the red pill and stay, letting the wheels cough and wheeze back to life – a cerebral resurrection. I read them over and over again, each reading slower and more deliberate than the last. It is no surprise that I have wondered about killing myself – you must be honest; all of you have. It seems like something that is unavoidable to think about, even if you have no conscious intention of actually ending your own life. We are animals with vast curiosity. What does it feel like to die? Will people miss me? Who? What will the eulogy sound like? How will the obituary read? How should I go? What if I write a memoir in the place of a tacky suicide note? A suicide memoir. Death sells.

Ironically, thinking about the meaning of life puts one in a rather morbid mood. Even the religious types. All they can talk about is how they’re going to die, where they’re going to go when they die, what good they’re going to do before they die. Old and new testament. Death, death, death.

Thinking about life is just as pointless as life itself. And that is a-okay.

We need to stop worrying about what meaning this great and mystical Life has because there is no inherent meaning. You survived conception, wombhood, infancy, childhood… All you have to do is live. Make up your own goddamn meaning. It doesn’t have to be what I think is the meaning or what your neighbor thinks is the meaning or what your pastor thinks is the meaning. No one can explicitly tell you what the meaning of life is, only what the meaning of their own life is. And even that is perhaps impossible. Perhaps only our subconscious knows what the meaning or purpose of our own life is and all we have to do is listen.

What do you feel is your meaning of life? Is it possible to ever know what it is? Share how glamorous or inglorious your death would be in the comments below.

(Huh. That really was rather morbid. It’s just been one of those days…)