Little Things Mean Too Much

One sees a mountain where once there was a molehill. Sedona, Arizona. (Monte Dutton)
One sees a mountain where once there was a molehill. Sedona, Arizona. (Monte Dutton)

At this stage of life, one considers strictly important matters. One questions matters he has blithely accepted for decades.

For instance, the word “like” is often used to mean “lack,” as in the great line from Roger Miller’s “Dang Me”: “I like fourteen dollars having twenty-seven cents.” One thinks, why is it “like”? And, then, one realizes, it’s “lack.” It just turned into “like” over time, based on the dialect used in saying it rapidly. It turned into “like” in spite of stupidity, or because of it. In large measure, stupidity rules the world. For decades, one used “like” incorrectly, contributing to the prevailing trend.

When younger, one hears someone say something that means its opposite, and, if he even notices, lets it slide. Now, one wants to scream when he hears “I could care less.”

“Yes, you could! You could care less! What you meant to say was ‘I couldn’t care less”! And, damn it, when you say ‘literally,’ you quite obviously mean ‘figuratively”! You moron!”

He doesn’t scream, though. That may occur in the next stage of life.

His mind becomes this persnickety scanner.

Okay, use ‘regardless’ or ‘irregardless.’ They mean the same. ‘Flammable” or “inflammable.” You can use either but not both. I’d go with the simpler, but I’ll compromise. And we might be able to get along if you’d just occasionally say ‘use’ instead of ‘utilize.’ Very seldom is there a reason for utility in this verb.

One needs to chill, man. People have a right to be stupid. That’s obvious. They don’t know any better. They just say what everybody else says, and then, when they say it enough, it becomes acceptable. It gets printed in dictionaries, and, when a stickler makes an issue, the other fellow pulls out a dictionary and says, “Nah, Fred, see here, the dictionary says both words are acceptable.”

Damn dictionaries. They’re run by … liberals. The old values have been abandoned. Back in my day, a man could say “queer” or “gay,” and no one would start snickering. A man named Richard could call himself “Dick” without fear of humiliation. Being named Mary Jane wouldn’t cause a sweet girl to be repeatedly pulled over by the cops.

Freedom was greater in the land.

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