Thursday, February 25, 2010

Called it!

So I was thinking back to my childhood the other day and after shuddering in horror at the clothes I used to wear -- and realized I still wear them -- I remembered fondly on how simple things were between kids.

Fights involved name-calling, not bolt-action rifles. You got sent to the office for calling someone a shithead, as opposed to using some sort of ethnic slur.

Playgrounds then weren't safe for adults, let-alone the kids. Slides and monkey bars sat over-top of concrete foundations using paint containing enough lead to kill birds that happened to land on it. If you fell from any apparatus in the playground, in order to survive you had to land feet first, arms thrown in the air in a dismount that would've made a gymnast happy (though the French judge would've only given 5's in a bribery scandal).

But what amazes me most was how powerful words were. If you wanted to declare something -- to make it real; make it yours -- all you had to do is shout "Called it!". And for extra umph "Triple-locked it! No erasies! Black magic!". Once that was shouted, no one could argue with you. What was done was done. "We're playing with my marbles. Called it! Triple-locked it! No erasies! Black magic!"

How life would be so simple if words still carried the same power as an adult. Unfortunately words lose that touch in the teen years and then go away completely. As a kid, if you declared it, it was so. It was almost some form of respect to the words that were used.

As adults you can pretty much say whatever you want. The words aren't heard or respected. They're filtered, interpreted, editorialized and then summarily dismissed by someone who believes they have better words.

Can you imagine how politics would be if words still held power? Imagine how the health care debate raging in the US might've been different. Obama steps up to the microphone at a news conference...

"Ladies and gentleman. I offer you a historic proposition today. Health-care for all Americans at an affordable rate." *Clears his throat* "Called it! Triple-locked it! No erasies! Black magic!"

Later on, the Republican leader steps forward to offer his thoughts: "We fundamentally disagree with President Obama's thoughts on the issue. We think the health-care system is working exactly as it should for Americans and there are already programs in place for those who can't afford health care." *Clears throat* "But, President Obama did declare 'no erasies', so I'm afraid we'll have to live with it."

A slight exaggeration, perhaps (ok, a gross exaggeration), but somehow words lose their power as we grow up and simply becomes things we say out loud for the sake of filling up the vacuum of silence. I want to go back to my childhood again and scream at the kids: "Hold onto the power! Don't let it go! Remember now for all time, when you say something, you mean it. The words hold power; hold meaning. Respect the words! Grow up, not cynical. Grow stronger, not suspicious. That awe you felt as you were taught new words, their meaning and their power -- hold onto that, relish it and enjoy it."

No erasies.

Black magic.

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