Words really are amazing when you stop to think of what they are and how we use them. They’re just letters bundled together and given meaning. What are letters? Written symbols that represent specific phonetics. It’s like something right out of Dungeons and Dragons, where you read some magically incribed runes and a reaction happens. We piece runes together and it gains meaning.
When you are a baby, and begin breathing properly- you can begin the noise making process. “Waaaaaah!”, usually. You say “waaaah!” and you get a nipple stuffed into your mouth. Shame that only works on infants, right? Doesn’t stop some people from trying.
It’s the beginning of communication, really. A series of causes and effects- the cause being the sound you make with your body, the effect is the result of the sound. As your hearing grows stronger, you begin discerning more noises with clarity. You struggle to mimic the sounds, “maaa, daa daa” to the elation of everyone around you. You make more noises, different things happen to you. The first words are a big deal, you’ve gained a magical power that allows you to communicate with those around you.
In one of his comedy sets, Joe Rogan jokingly compared speaking to telepathy. It was something along the lines of, “You make noises with your mouth, and I’m reading your mind.” While it was a joke, it is amazing how much information we can pick up during a back and forth conversation, and the noises we make are just the beginning. The way you are facing, your inflection, your pacing of your words, etc. It all adds up to some sort of meaning.
In an Elder Scrolls game (Skyrim), this idea is reinterpreted. You learn to read little runes on the wall, and a thing happens. “Fus!”, you shout. It makes a noise with your face, and people are blown off their feet. Eventually, you learn more of this phrase- “Fus ro!”, and people are blown backwards. Later on, you learn the rest of it- “Fus ro dah!” and people are blown off cliffs towards the horizon.
It’s a strong visual indication of the power of words. Context is “the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed.” If I say “fire!” in my headset at home, I could easily be directing the party Bard to silence a Chimera in a videogame. If I shout fire the same way into my phone during an outdoor speech, I could be seen as aiding an assassination. If I shout fire in a theater, I could be aiding an evacuation. If I say fire in the set of a porno- well. Understanding the situation you’re in helps you choose better words to make your message understood.
Words go through a filter. You conjure up the thought, communicate it through your mouth- and everyone hears it with their ears and interprets what they think you are trying to say. The issue with speech is that the way we all interpret it is subjective. If you are really good at getting your point across, it will not be misinterpreted as much, but many people don’t bother thinking about what they say.
I had a moment just a little while ago at work, actually. A co-worker (and reader of this blog) dismissed me by saying “just do what you do” when I was trying to pass time by speaking with her about the day. I heard what she said, but had no idea what she meant. Her friend chirped in with “y’know, bitch and complain?”. She was mentioning my post about “squares” earlier to him, and this guy made a point to tease me about my usage of the term for an hour or so earlier, so I was already feeling a bit hostile towards him.
‘Blowing things out of proportion’ is an idiom that basically means that something said or seen is taken much more seriously than it should’ve been. It happens with there is a large gap in the intended message, and the received message. When the male friend said I bitch and complain, he could have just mean that I seem like a very complacent person. That’s more than likely what he was going for, since there is nothing at all to talk about when there is a good day at work. I usually bring up observations of the bad things that are happening.
I took the words in, and stopped speaking to them. As I walked a few miles down the street after work, I kept replaying the scenario in my head, but was irked at the usage of the two words “bitch” and “complain”. I recalled some dialogue from a movie called “No Country for Old Men”:
HER: “How’d you sleep?”
HIM: “I dunno, I had dreams.”
HER: “Well, you got time for ‘em now. Anything interesting?”
HIM: “They always is to the party concerned.”
HER: I’ll be polite.
In this part of the scene, the man could’ve meant that dreams are always interesting to the dreamer, but also (due to how he glanced at her when saying his last line) he was inferring that he didn’t really want to discuss his dream to the woman because she didn’t really find anything that he had to say to be interesting. The woman in the scene was being a bit dismissive earlier in her body language and speech. Her last line reassured him that she would actually listen to him, so he said his story. Afterwards, the movie cut to black.
I usually discuss things on my site that means a lot to me. I think of something, and write about it at length, publishing the verbiage for the world to see. My words, my thoughts, your eyes. I appreciate every word that you read. But to summarize my entire site as “bitching and complaining” makes me feel like my words weren’t all that interesting to them. Someone who complains is not someone who takes action, they just observe. Someone who bitches isn’t a person who is changing the things that are causing them to complain- they are merely whining.
I see ‘bitching and complaining’ as a personal attack on my character, I have no time for people who decide it’s okay to use words like this to describe me. I may be blowing it out of proportion, but since there are billions of people in the world- you don’t have to deal with the ones that make you feel bad. I’ll find people who communicate a little better, and those two can find someone who listens better.
It amuses me that some annoying combinations of noises drove me to write all of this. I’m trying to make the argument that my site isn’t simply about complaining, yet… Here I am.