4.21.2009

The One About Words

Just the other day I received a text from a friend of mine who uses t9 on their phone. Now, if you don't know what that means, let me explain. As you start to type a word the phone, being sentient and all, starts to guess at where you're going for and finishes the word. In many cases it will finish correctly. But not in all cases. I was being filled in on a continuing saga and was told that someone loved a work of a art. However, the word lover was used. Now, I knew full well that my friend did not type in the word lover. That word was not directed at me or the person they were writing about. As a matter of fact, I have never heard my friend use the word lover before. But the phone used it. And all of a sudden, everything was funny.

As is my way, I have picked up on it and, for this week at least, keep using the word. At least until I tire of it. But it is an awkward word. We discussed it. People, at least people we know, just don't use it. The only time I recall it used was the Doris Day/Rock Hudson movie Lover Come Back. And that was 1961. And you know what? I wasn't around then. For real.

I like words. Put them together in the right order and you have a lovely poem. Set them to music and you have a song. Write down enough of them and you have yourself a book. Preferably a good one. I wonder if a phone could t9 a book? There's a thought.

I find it interesting how words can change. Of course, all the ones I can think of at the moment are most likely not suitable for this publication. But they take on different meanings and are embraced by different groups. I know someone who doesn't let her five-year-old say the word stupid but can say the f-word. Different words are offensive to different people.

Somebody told me recently to just come out and say what I meant and not be so passive aggressive in my phrasing. I was just trying to be gentle. Then when I did just come right out with it I was told was being too harsh. Still, just words. And I didn't even use the word stupid or the f-word. Next time I have something to say, I'm just going to let the phone decide and whatever word it chooses I'm sticking with it. Who knows? My phone might be some kind of Shakespeare.