Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Penny For Your Thoughts

You're walking down the street and out of the corner of your eye you see something lying in the tire-tread patterned dirt. You bend down for a closer look and discover a solitary penny. Furtively glancing from right side to left you gingerly pick it up and quickly pop it into your vest pocket.

Some might snicker that it's only a penny, yet that penny represents much more than just one one-hundredth of a dollar. That penny, in many situations, could mean the difference between making a phone call, purchasing a stamp to mail an important letter or buying a warm beverage on a cold winter's night, or not. That small piece of copper colored change could determine if a young child is able to get a special card for his mother, father or teacher. That insignificant coin, lowest denomination on the monetary scale, could impact the decision of a toll taker on the turnpike to let you pass go.

Sure, it's only a penny, but when a dollar's what you need and you've counted out ninety-nine cents, that penny's worth everything.
If a penny can impact a purchase, how does a word impact a sentence, and that sentence the person to whom it is spoken?

Thoughts, when vocalized, become words, phrases, sentences, and are traceable. A person has spoken them, and they can never be taken back, or eaten. They are not homogeneous; they are not absorbed by the surrounding air. They stand out and are counted. As a yodeler at the precipice of a canyon hears his words bounce off every rock and return multiple times in undulating echoes, words come back to us. Sometimes to the sound of applause, more often as a haunting. To speak is to forfeit anonymity.

It makes you think; if one spent every penny as one would a dollar, why wouldn't we treat words with reverence? Recently it was brought to my attention that using the word "always" when meaning "sometimes", changed the intent of the sentence. It was like saying one hundred percent when, in reality, what was meant was only seventy percent.

If a penny can make whole a dollar, just imagine the possibilities of well chosen, articulated words.

A penny for your thoughts..............