Friday, February 22, 2008

Word Power

Senators Clinton and Obama are having a little difference on the power of words. The conventional wisdom is that Obama is a master of words and Clinton claims words are not enough. They are both right, I think. Words can inspire but they usually need to be backed up by action.

This morning in the student union Emily, me, and another member of the writing class were discussing politics. But we soon got off on words. The other guy, a senior from New York City, is taking a class on the History of the English Language. He said that most of the words we consider "dirty" today have a long history in English going back to Angle-Saxon times. I did not know that. Having been in only 4 states, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Kansas, I thought all "dirty" words came from toughs in New York, or someplace back East. Of course, I didn't say that out loud because I think the other guy likes Emily, like I do. So I hope she prefers the well built guy from the tiny town over the smooth, smart, sleek guy from New York. Incidentally some people from my tiny town called catholics "fish eaters." When I go back to my little town I had better be prepared.

But back to words. In addition to the "dirty" words there are words that are used in different ways. I think some words are illegal to use against other people like the N word. I'm not sure it should be a crime but it should not be used. Other words called ex.....(I don't know the exact definition) are used when you make a mistake and hit your hand hard with a hammer. You don't say "Aw,shucks". Other words are becomming unacceptable. Meg, Jack and Alice's daughter, does not like her kids to say a person is "fat." That is in bad taste, Meg believes. (Don't tell her, but they still use that word).

Sometimes we use words when we know they are not the right words. For example, when you look at a picture of a friend's kids you always say "how cute" even though they may look like another species. When Jack, Meg's son, makes a really bad play in baseball the parents yell "good try" when if he had really had his head in the game the other team would not have scored 3 runs. Or when little Jack hits a wrong note on the piano, big Jack says "good, but you missed a note or two." And I hope the very smart kids in my highschool who called me a "dumb jock" were just using words in a different way.

So, I agree with Obama at least on this point. Words are very important because they point something out but also tell what the speaker may be thinking. Now I don't control the words that are used around the house where I live. But if I had the power I would like to misuse three words. I would like "dad" to mean Jack, "mom" to mean Alice, and I would very much like "son" to mean me. The words would not be correct, but maybe someday they will be used that way and it would mean a whole lot to me.


  1. Frank,

    How's it going? Which essay did you decide to use? How did yesterday's writers' session go? Has Alice or Jack showed you how to use a word processing program on the computer yet, like Microsoft Word?

    Did Jack tell you what I wrote to you, about your father? (If not, I'll retype it here).

    God bless,

  2. Anna, this is Jack. Let me write for Frank this response.He might be embarassed. The three profs loved Frank's essay. They knew his background from reading some of his earlier papers. Frank thought they were not going to read them, but they did. He used the one about Jack and Joe that is on the blog as "An Examle" He called it Jack/Joe.

    All three of the profs said Franks's was the best essay this week. When he came home we stayed up late talking. When I told him you still were with him, he said nothing, but I saw tears rolling down his face.I have never see him cry. What a fool I was to misinterpret your comments.

    You and I, I suspect, were brought up in caring families. We have good self esteem. But Frank so desperately wants to be more than just a football player. He was starved for someone to say he was worth something more than just being able to run over an opponent in football. And his dad's remark. Cruelty.

    When we pulled his foot this morning to wake him, he just said "thanks". Anna you are an important recipient of that.

    A little humor: Dr. Corey. one of the three teachers in the Monday night class said, "You would make a great priest, but alas you apparently like sex too much." Ph.d humor!!!

    I have not shown him what you wrote, but I will. Thank you. Jack

  3. Anna I am glad Jack wrote you. I would have been embarassed but he knows how to put things. When I got kind of emotional I noticed Jack's eyes were cloudy. I think both of us are a little afraid of showing things by cr....

    Jack is very right, that thanks was for you as well as my present family.

    One thing I need to be clear on. All the things I have done were my fault, except maybe the belt whipping by my father.

    I turned in "A Perfect Day" last night. I hope they like it and you do. Thanks Frank

  4. Anna I have a couple of things I need your opinion on if you have a couple of minutes. I think I should work in construction this summer to help pay my school and other expenses. The tuition at my school is 24,000 a year, not counting books. Jack and Alice pay all of this plus all my living expenses, they are not rich. They want me to go to summer school and not take the construction job. Jack loves to kid and says I want to be around when you graduate.What do you think. This sounds bad but do you think praying would help me find an answer. Do you think Jack is really joking? Frank

  5. Anna this is Frank.I do not want to be a drag to you. I know you have so much too do with your children and another on the way.But I need some body to talk to. Jack and Alice have so much to think about and I am so close to them I hate to bother them more after they help me so much. Can I write to you more, you do not need to answer but just say you saw my comment. If you have a little time you could say more but do not think you have to.
    Yesterday two boys from my little town came to the city to find summer work. they were 18 and 19 but I was a friend of their older brother. They stopped by to see me and were real surprised how I was living . They said Holy S... how did you get this. I will leave out other bad words they used. When I told them it was free they said even badder words. They could not believe it. The bathroom Jack and Alice made for me freaked them out.They said it was the biggest they had ever seen.Alice ask them to stay and eat with us. At about 9 they said they had to start back to their home. Since it was raining and there car was so old Alice told them to call their parents and see if they could spend the night here.The parents said okay. I have a large double bed and there is a slepper sofa downstairs. Mark and I shared my bed and Art slept on the sleeper bed. Their clothes were a little messy so Alice washed the clothes for them. Alice found a couple of old pairs of pajama pants for them becuase the clothes took a time to dry. They could not fit in any of my T shirts so they did not have tops. They were kind of backward about being around Alice without shirts and I told them she has seen me with much less than that. I told them about my accident and how she would have to fix my clothes, so they were not shy. They both ask me in a friendly way why I deserved the way I was living, I had no answer.
    Anna, I needed to tell some body about this, so I'm telling you. I have some other good things I need to tell you. If you see this could you comment even say I saw it. Thanks Frank

  6. Anna I have much to tell you. If you are still there (:). I tried the smile face. Dr. Ellison called me in Friday and apologized to me about previous papers. The group that selected the members of the writing class had to see the paper, but he did not think the teachers saw a students earlier writings. He told me he had told this to the teachers Thursday, and that I might not want them to know about me. The teachers were very nice, they said what they had seen was great and to tell me they would keep earlier stuff as scret as possible. They told Dr. Ellison I had nothing to be ashamed of.
    One of the teachers wife had seen the Scarlet Scar and had been very move. She wanted to know if I would let her use my little essays at her church book club. She is catholic and if I would give her permission she would retype them disguissing the names. I said Okay. Is it alright with you? She will give you another name and not give out any blog names. Please let me know. Frank

  7. Hey Frank,

    I haven't abandoned you. I just haven't been on the computer almost at all this week. On Friday I got as far as booting up my laptop and trying to start answering someone's email, and my daughter came up and told me she wanted my attention. “Mom, I want your tention”. It was very cute, and completely irresistible. :) So now it's Sunday and I finally get to be on my computer and catch up with everything. And don't think of yourself as a drag on me. Just because it took me awhile to have the time to talk to you doesn't mean that I don't enjoy it.

    On the construction thing, I'm not really sure. Working to help pay for school is a good thing, but if Jack and Alice think they can handle all payments and think summer school would be good for you, then I would think that's a good thing too. I very much think that praying could help you find an answer. Ask God to show you his will, ask him to send his wisdom down on you. Then give him some silence; listen for him to speak to you in your heart. Jack may be kidding when he says he wants to be around when you graduate, but I suspect that he's somewhat serious, too. He's worried about his health, and maybe not very sure of how long he will live. Praying for his health can help, too.

    The two boys that came to visit. My first thought is that maybe this is God's way of showing you how much you have to be grateful for. Sometimes it's easy for us to start taking things for granted once we get used to them. So having someone else come along who doesn't have what you have – that can be a good reminder to thank God every day in prayer for what He has done for you. And also a good reminder to tell Jack and Alice thanks sometimes, too. :) Their visit might also be something you can write a paper about.

    As for their question about what you deserved, that's harder. Everyone deserves to be treated like a king, because God made them glorious; everyone deserves to be treated like a criminal, because everyone has offended that glory that God gave them. So I don't think what we get is really about what we deserve. It's just about what God has in mind for us, where he wants to lead us. And sometimes it's not about what God wants for us at all; sometimes it's about what the Enemy has done to us, like when other people fail to help us the way God intends for them to. Does that make any sense? You don't have to believe that you're somehow a better person than Mark or Art, to get something they didn't. But you better not believe that you shouldn't have gotten it because you didn't deserve it, either. God sent Jack and Alice to you because he loves you; Jack and Alice helped you because they love you. You are worth that love. It may be that God wanted someone else to help Mark and Art, and that person failed to respond. It may be that God simply has a different plan for them, one that doesn't include large bathrooms and paid-for school, but one which will still lead them to founts of joy and happiness, if they accept it and follow Him.

    You and Jack both make the smile face the same way: by putting parentheses on both sides of the semicolon. (:) A normal smile face only has the end-parentheses mark, to the right of the semicolon. :) That way the semicolon is supposed to look like eyes, and the end-parentheses looks like a smile, making a sideways face. You can also put a nose in, like this :-) Or you can make a surprised face :-O Or a frowning face :-( or :(
    Or a weird face :-/ Or a tongue-sticking-out face :p or :P

    Ah, the wonderful world of emoticons. :)

    I'm glad the teachers know that you are sensitive about the content of your papers and are willing to keep it quiet. I think that's great that one of them wants to use your papers at her church book club. It's absolutely fine with me, and I don't really care if anyone knows my name is Anna. (There's a lot of Anna's in the world anyhow.) :) I think they're great papers, so I think it's great for her book club to read them.

    God bless,

  8. Anna my god you are still with me. Jack and Alice are great like parents, but I need a friend also. Someone you can say anything to. I copied Jack's smile face and so we are both wrong. I bet you laugh at me but I get scared when I don't hear from you. I thank God,catholic, and Jesus, baptist, I have a friend I can talk to. Jack selsom reads the comments and Alice never reads them, so I will put my essay on post and talk to you on comment. I hope you understand my difference between parent and friend I need both. RCIA is almost over. Emily is fine, we are getting closer. See I say this to friend but might not say this to parent if you read me.Thanks for your advice so much. Frank

  9. Frank,

    Don't take the name of God in vain, even when you're typing. It's a bad habit, and we owe him all the respect we can give. :) It doesn't make me laugh at you when you say you get scared when you don't hear from me. I've felt like that about other people lots of times before. Some of it is just normal human caring about someone, and some of it is basic insecurity. The only real cure for insecurity is to know with every fiber of your being just how great God's love for you is, so that that is always enough.

    I get the difference between friend and parent. There's lots of stuff that's easier to tell a friend than a parent. :) I remember having a very hard time talking to my dad about any of my boyfriends, and even now it's sometimes easier to talk to my sister about my husband than my dad. That's good that you and Emily are getting closer. (Just not too close, right? heehee ;) that emoticon is a wink, by the way. You make it with a semicolon and end-parentheses.)

    You say RCIA is almost over – are you getting confirmed and all this Easter Vigil? I'm assuming you've already been baptized. Congratulations! I've been getting to be friends with the catechumen at our parish; he's going to be baptized at the Easter Vigil, and he's getting pretty excited about it. Confirmation is when you really receive the Holy Spirit; He is a most powerful force in my life, and he will be for you, too, if you let him. Anyhow, I'm excited for you to be receiving the sacraments and all.

    God bless,

  10. Anna sorry about using god in bad way. I promise I will not do it again.

    Last night at class was interesting. The profs liked my paper very much. One said "you are good, you can make a bad poem sound profound." Poor Nathan Perlman. He wrote on the change in presidencey in Russia. One teacher said "Nathan you are smart and have talent, but write on something you know like Frank. Frankly Nathan as smart as you are I prefer to get deep political analysis from a pro. But you have talent so leave Russia to the experts."

    After class all the students went to a nearby club. No alcohol since some were under 21. They played a game where each person picks another to toast. Rebecca chose me and said" Father Frank. To the sexiest priest this side of prison." They call me Father Frank since they know I write about religion and am becoming a catholic. My toast to her, "To Rebecca the sexiest girl this side of unitaarianism." Emily is unitarian.
    I am thinking out an essay on a thing that happened last week. This time I hope you will give some literary advice. I have two endings and not sure which one to use. I will try to post it in the next day or two.
    I have been baptized but will join catholics in a week or so. I think I will look silly in white robe. Jack is going to do everything he can to be there. Alice and Jimmy and Meg and little Jack and Joe will be there. I wish you could be here. Your friend Frank

  11. Anna the demon is after me. Seriously. Rebecca has touched me where she shouln't twice now. The demon is I felt a little responsive. Jack says use sarcasm like 'Becky you are looking for something and you aren't going to find it here'. Alice says be sharp like 'don't do that again, EVER!!! Do not answer if you do not want to. If you do answer give me your opinion, PLEASE. Still working on that double ending paper. Frank

  12. Anna false alarm. Rebecca just called and said she was ashamed of what she did. She said she got carried away and will never do that again. She ask me not to tell anyone. But I have told you Jack and Alice. I forgave her, will you three forgive me for having any interest. You probably are sorry you got to know imature brats like us. BUT PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE. Frank

  13. Frank,

    I'm glad Rebecca called to apologize. You don't need to be ashamed of your response to her or having an interest in her. That's natural, and not something you really choose. Just keep reminding yourself that you like Emily better, and remember to treat both Emily and Rebecca like royal princesses, one of whom you are courting, and one of whom you are not.

    If a woman ever makes advances on you like that again, you could try either Jack's suggestion or Alice's. Either way, I think the important thing is to make it clear to them that you don't want their interest.

    Oh, and I don't think you'd look silly in a white robe. It's there to remind you of purity, of newness. Christians have worn white robes for millenia, and the book of Revelations describes the saints in heaven wearing white robes. When you wear yours, picture the saints all around you wearing the same white robes... perhaps that will make you more comfortable. :) And it would be cool if I could be in two places at once, to see both you and my friend here join the Church, but alas, I am not such a saint that I know how to bilocate. :)

    God bless,

  14. Anna thank you for understanding. I feel guilty because I sort of enjoyed it at the time. I am not sure I will ever be able to overcome the s.. drive.

    Later this evening will post essay I would like your opinion on, especially the two posssible endings. Your friend Frank