Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Favorite Encounters

Being a logophile - that would be a lover of words - I often find myself puzzled by the words people choose to use in their day to day conversation. I'm not so much interested in the extent of their vocabulary, or even their grammar, I'm just intrigued by the words they use to convey their point or make their stories more interesting.

Lately, I've noticed that people take words that are supposed to be very meaningful, and they beat the meaning out of them by kicking them around like an old pair of tennis shoes that you don't have to untie to put on or take off.

For example: let's consider the word, "favorite." If used correctly, we should all only have one favorite thing. Of course, we are also entitled to a favorite movie, a favorite food, wine, song, etc. But really, only one favorite "thing." In the last week, I have had several people tell me something is their "favorite thing." One person even claimed four different favorite things in the span of two hours.

Favorite doesn't really mean favorite any more. Nowadays it's just an adjective used to describe any number of things a person happens to enjoy. It has lost its emphasis, and it makes me sad.

One man said his favorite thing was to rearrange furniture. While I don't doubt his odd, but sincere love for moving heavy pieces of furniture, I somehow doubt it is actually the one thing he loves to do in this world more than anything else. As much as I try to separate my facial expressions from the ponderings of my inner monologue, I highly doubt I was able to keep a straight face while he was talking to me. I just kept thinking to myself, "Really? THAT'S your favorite thing in the world? I mean, if you had a bumper sticker on your car, would it say 'I'd rather be moving furniture'?"

Don't get me wrong, people are entitled to love whatever activity they want to - I don't have to agree or even understand - but please, people, be stingy with your favorites.