I was bullied once as a young teen for my love of language and words. I was literally threatened by a co-worker of the Movie Theatre I worked in as a young teenager, for using words, big words – not because I was trying to show off, but because I have always loved language and word usage. Also I started talking at 9 months according to my parents. Apparently I just bobbed up one day in my crib and said: “Duck…Quack. Quack.” Therein started the incessant talking, and I pretty much never stopped, as everyone in my family likes to quip.
Back to the bully at my weekend job. She followed me into the bathroom after I used some word that caused her great distress as she did not understand or know what it meant..and basically told me to shut my god-damn mouth and quit talking like that or she would shut it for me. Her body language, size, and the look in her eyes told me she was serious.
Shortly thereafter, began a long history at school where I learned in speech to “dumb it down” so as not to arouse the bullying instincts of any of the pubescent peers unnecessarily, and try to fit in. I still loved writing though, and would use my linguistic interest and ability to create A+ essays in English. Writing has always been something that came to me naturally.
For some it is Math, or Physics or one of the other Sciences. Not me. To this day, Math gives me hives. Even the idea of Math makes me itch.
Oh, I can add, subtract, multiply and divi……..well, ok, not divide very well, but the point is I can function in the world just fine with my basic skills. The issue I had with some parts of math, were those ridiculous problems you had to solve with “x” and “y” and finding the square footage (or triangular sodding footage..damn if I can recall) of the Farmer who had a “triangular bush” in his field….Oh yes, the Farmer had a triangular bush. Try and get through Math 10 with those problems to solve without giggling incessantly and eventually getting kicked out of the classroom and made to stand on a tile in the hall. Honestly what were the textbook writers thinking?
Words and language have always been life-giving and energizing for me.
They have never been a source of ego-gratification for me, a way to “one-up” anyone, but rather the natural way for me to communicate. Nothing in the world is better than an exchange of friendly, and comic verbal sparring with someone who has that wit and ability to use words to bring laughter and mental challenge. I have certain friends whom I just love for their ability in that area.
After many years of “dumbing” things down to please other people, I am done with that rot, and now embrace what is life-giving for me: My love of the English Language.