SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska
Column: Humor

Thank God it's Monday



February 07, 2018
Wednesday AM

Ketchikan, Alaska -
I have decided that "words" are a problem.

jpg  Dave Kiffer

Yeah, yeah, sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you. 

I'm pretty sure that my mother taught me that little ditty. Probably when I was in Kindergarten and I came home with a bloody nose because a girl a couple of years older than me pushed me off the sidewalk and I fell headfirst into a yard on Austin Street. I can't remember exactly what was involved there, but I'm pretty sure that some "words" took place before I got clocked.

Speaking of Kindergarten, how many people can say they attended school in a building that was then turned into a bar?  By several ex teachers?

On the other hand,  my father once went to school in a building that used to be a bar (Charcoal Point). Maybe I am seeing a Ketchikan trend here?

Nah, it's just a coincidence. 

When I was growing up, every building in Ketchikan had either been a bar or was going to be one. That's what happens when you have one liquor license for every five residents.

But I digress.

Anyway, we were talking about words and how they can never hurt you.

Don't be too sure about that.  It just seems like an awful lot of words (as opposed to a lot of awful words) seem to cause a lot of chaos, mayhem and unpleasantness just on their very "ownsomeness."

Take these two words for days of the week , par ejemplo.



Just words. Not sticks and stones, right?

But you can't tell me with a straight face that you react the same to each word.

One of those words slithers out of your mouth, in a rancid puddle of bad taste, carrying all the negative weight in the universe.

The other one tends to trip lightly off the vocal chords with all the negative connotation of a big serving of cotton candy.  It relieves the burden of all that awful universal weight.

Just the other day, I was pondering why I was having such a bad day. Of course, it was a "Monday."

Later in the week, I was having a very good day. It was a "Friday."

Case closed.

To make things more complicated, we can also use "words" to alter the connotation of even "good days."

Take "Sunday." It is usually a word that does not cause undue stress to burble up into our consciousness. Unless you are a minister with performance anxiety.

If we say "Sunday morning" it just sounds relaxing. 

To misquote one of the worst pop songs ever, life is indeed "easy" as Sunday morning.

(Ha, ha, there is an earworm for the rest of your week!)

But a different combination, say "Sunday night" gets a different response.

A response similar to "Oh fudge, I have to get up early and go to work tomorrow."

See, you can feel the stomach muscles tightening already!

I think I am on to something with this "words" thing.

Speaking of which, if someone is "on to something" then there must be a corresponding opposite situation.

I know for a fact, when people see me walking down the street they often think "That Kiffer boy, he's on to NOTHING."

But, as usual, I digress, again.

Back to words, and how if we perhaps chose different words (not better, just different), maybe it would change our whole outlook toward life.

For example, imagine if spiders were called unicorns?

Just the word "spider" seems to get a whole lot of women that I know really riled up.

But, unicorn, on the other hand, seem to have exactly the opposite effect.

Imagine the difference in these two responses to the exact same scenario.

"ARRGGHH!!!!! There is a big ugly spider in my bathroom above the tub. Get in here!!! Kill it! Kill it.!! Kill it!!!!!!"


"Hey honey, there is a pink unicorn - bless its heart - on the ceiling in the bathroom. Could you come in here and remove that darling, little sweetie-pie please."

I suspect that whole generations of "spiders" have lived and died gruesome deaths while not one "unicorn" has been unceremoniously dispatched with a rolled up newspaper or shoe heel.

The power of words indeed!


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Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
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