Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Shrinking Vocabulary

More and more, I find myself mentally scrambling for the right word, or re-using the same word several times in a conversation. It's annoying, because I know I have a broader, more expansive vocabulary that I can't seem to access any more. It seems to have atrophied from lack of use.

There are words that get into my head and refuse to leave. I will misuse them, mispronounce them, and generally annoy my friends until one day I realize I haven't used them in a while.

And then there are words I never use. Today I saw a sign with the word destiny. I don't believe that, outside of the title of a book or movie, I've used the word destiny in a sentence in the last 25 years. Or ever. I cannot ever remember saying "It's my destiny!" or "It was destined to happen". I must wonder why. The life-long Baptist in me certainly knows the meaning and all the theological debates surrounding the word.

But am I just not ethereal enough to use words like destiny? Fate? Kismet? Am I weighted in practicalities and immured in the vocabulary of the commonplace?

I read, constantly. Unfortunately, I think my choices in reading are less than intellectual. Should I switch from Charlaine Harris and Jennifer Weiner to Tom Wolfe and Sinclair Lewis? Maybe I could work one in from time to time, but life is too short to read books you don't enjoy.

So lies the end of my vocabulary, wrapped in Southern middle class mediocrity and trashy vampire novels.

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