Precision…

I’ve been told on a number of occasions recently that English is a precise language and we must use it precisely. I’m good with that. I like precision. I like to use words to cut through the clutter and mean exactly what I say. Except the problem is, most people don’t. Most people use the language as just another avenue to be vacillate and be throughly indecisive.

Don’t be surprised then, if you ask me “Do you want to do Activity X?” and my response is an immediate no. I’m answering your question honestly and directly. No, I do not want to participate in Activity X. In fact, generally I’d rather stake myself on an anthill covered in honey than engage in Activity X. However, if you changed the question slightly, by saying “Will you do Activity X?” or a more directive “You’re going to do Activity X,” I’ll probably shrug, possibly roll my eyes, and get on with dealing with whatever X is in our little equation.

See, the social contract depends largely on people doing things they don’t want to do. But when you frame the question as whether I “want” to do something or not, you’ve given me the option of saying no, because that’s the honest answer. I spend most days doing things I don’t particularly want to do, so when given the option to avoid adding one more to the list, I’m not sure why anyone would be surprised when I opt out… because frankly life is entirely too short and it’s already too filled with random pointless activities that we don’t really want to do in the first place.

Gonnaherpasyphilaids…

Gonnaherpasyphilaids is actually one of my personal favorites. I find it to be an excellent all-purpose word basically meaning that the individual in question has a high likelihood of carrying one or more diseases of the naughty regions that are non-responsive to penicillin. This word came into usage during my sophomore year as a response to the choruses of “I’d do her” that accompanied almost any chick of even modestly attractive features. That is to say, “Yeah, you’d do her, but you’d probably end up with gonnaherpasyphilaids.” This term is still regularly in use.

Taking requests…

At the request of a dear friend, I have undertaken a small project to catalog many of the “Tharpisms” that have evolved over the years. Many of them have their origins high atop Cambridge Hall in the land of single rooms and honors students. Others are more recent additions to my personal lexicon, but nevertheless, they will be familiar to anyone who has spent any amount of time anywhere near me in the last 10 years… If there are any particular favorites, feel free to make a request. I’ll start you off with two that top my list in the coming posts.