Friday, March 21, 2008

I love words... Playing with them

'It is not the beauty of word processors that is getting me all wet. It is the words. I love words. The are beautiful. They allow me pretend to be smart.When I have nothing to say I can always trust a big word to make me sound knowledgeable. " Potash

Unlike Potash - of whom I am a great fan and who on more than one occasion I have found myself envying quite a bit - for he has a way with words that is simply amazing. Reading his blog elicits from me an effect somewhat akin to the one I get when watching a master juggler at his best.....

Anyway, as I was saying, unlike him, I have a general mistrust for big words.... and though I share his love for words, I like them even more when someone else, such as he, is using them . I was for the longest time a voracious reader of anything written..... with the exception of text books and the like - which now, in retrospect, I realize would probably have done me more good in this here 'real world' that my teachers had constantly used to threaten me with than the ones I chose.

I read practically any novel, biography, autobiography etc that I could lay my hands on.... making me a what? A widely read intellectual.... no, not really. What it did was make me a great admirer of words and their ability to take over one's emotion-generator and produce all sorts of funny feelings. In the end, that admiration turned into a silent yearning to have the ability to use words in such a manner as to produce the aforementioned effect in others.

Then one day, while having a conversation with a friend.... which some way or the other turned onto the 'what do you wanna do when you grow up' avenue, instead of giving my standard Snoop inspired answer - 'a mother-effing hustler' , I was astonished to hear the word 'writer' slip out of my mouth.

Even more astounding was the fact that my utter astonishment was not mirrored on my friends face... as a matter of fact he looked at me with what could pass for fatherly approval and nodding his head said - 'yeah dude.... you ought to be.'

That one instant has stuck with me this last ten years and though when asked what career I was pursuing.... I've never been forthright in my claim to writing as it, I've always managed to allude to the fact that I would eventually want to settle down and write. I guess one of the things that has kept me from revealing this inclination to all and sundry - till now, is the fact that I have never written anything serious.

I have on several occasions attempted to, but those for the most part were in vain as I gave in to either the busyness of life (or more aptly my procrastinating nature got the best of me) or while right in the midst of my efforts, the idea I had that was going to be this best selling book either lost its appeal or as more often happened dried up and withered right where it had sprouted.

That was over the past few long years... sniff! Sniff! I know... didn't mean for this blog entry to end up being a stupid pity party... but I really have no control over what my fingers type. I really don't:)

Anyway, along with that yearning came a more formidable habit - so to speak. I learnt the fact that one can twist words around to mean different things.... like strands to make different types of strings or threads or ropes. I got into using words in a manner that left the listener or the reader not sure whether I meant what I was saying or was I really saying what I meant.

I did this mostly in jest and for the most part those who caught on laughed heartily at the implied joke while the rest grappled uncomfortably with the implications within those statements. Others went as far as to claim that they didn't understand what I was trying to say... and these were the honest ones, though they were wrong and I sometimes chose to correct them..... I wasn't trying, I was actually saying what I meant to say, its them perhaps, that were not meant to understand what it was that I was saying.

My friend Crys has referred to this as double-talk/speak... I'm sure there is a word for it - probably one of those long ones that I'm not particularly fond of. Borne out of my constant need for amusement... even self amusement, and perpetuated by the comical naivety of my fellow workmates when it came to dealing with someone who spoke 'their' language with an accent... especially one as 'heavy' as mine.

It never ceased to amuse me when after having to deal with me a couple of times.... people who had initially claimed not to understand a word I had said, these same people had commented on the fluency of my english. I realized after a while that they were either so caught up listening to the accent that they actually didn't hear what I said or they had made up their minds the moment I started speaking that they would not hear or as they put it understand me. Out of the frustration that that brought about I decided to play the 'dense native' and whenever they used a phrase I'd take it literally and question them on what they meant.

At first they'd think I was playing them..... how could I not have heard that before... I'd stick to my story and pretty soon they'd patiently try to explain a phrase which they had never really sought to find out what it really meant or how it came about. Take today for instance, when after coming back from lunch with my girl at a place where one of them had recommended, I started to relate....
K: Hey Mary, I took my girlfriend to the Ranch on today....
M: Oh! Really? How'd you guys make out?
K:(incredulous) You really wanna know how we made out?
M: Yeah.... how did....
K: Well.... I waited till the waiter had taken our order then I reached over, and holding her by the cheeks, proceeded to.... (all the while motioning with my hands)

By then everyone within earshot is bursting out with laughter as they realize that I'd misunderstood Mary's question. Mary herself is not sure whether am pulling her leg or not and proceeds to explain what she meant. So for the rest of the day they keep asking if I really had never heard that phrase... and I patiently explain that the only time I'd heard it used was in ref. to teenage indiscretions on T.V.
Later on in the day, Mary goes on a cigarette break accompanied by Tom.... and when they come back somebody teases them about it. Mind you Tom is about twenty years her senior and happily married and so is Mary, only not as happily. He also happens to be her senior - rank wise. So after all the jesting has died down and people are just getting back to what they are doing, I casually call out to Mary....
M: Yeah?
K: So how did the two of you make out?
It takes the office another ten minutes to get back to normal and me a whole afternoon of apologizing and explaining what I meant to ask.

In the meantime, I'm wondering how I got about talking about myself while I initially set out to write a piece on why the hell I blog. Anyway, I think it is all tied up in here somewhere but I am sleepy and what's left of my brain cells is all but drowning in alcohol.


Maua said...

Jeez, I'm first again. U r good with words, that's why I'm always looking forth, and being first. Play with them more, keeps us going.

The part on Mary, very funny.

31337 said...

I am a fellow player of words i hope, well one day i hope to be able to call myself a writer.

You are evil, how could you swing that on the poor unsuspecting M? Another phrase that brings a smile to my face is: "Do you follow me?" I mean dude, huh?

KK said...

LOL! I know you are.... sometimes I just can't help it. That was only one instance very fresh in my memory