Friday, February 22, 2008

Words and Humpty Dumpty

Lewis Carroll created a wonderful character when he breathed life into Humpty Dumpty and began a dissertation on the meaning of words. Which brings me to:
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to me - neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master - that's all."
Which brings me to the questioning of Roger Clements, ace pitcher, as to whether he had taken performance enhancing drugs. Mr. Clements insisted he had never taken the drugs but when Andy Pettit, pitcher with the NY Yankees said he had discussed ingesting drugs with Roger Clements, Mr. Clements said."I disremember." That word is in my Oxford dictionary but not commonly used. I think Humpty Dumpty would like that word. "Disremember" instead of "forgot." Disremember has a softer feel to it than forgot. It's almost like an apology.

And that brings me to the label on the eggs I purchase at the local supermarket. "Free Range eggs." To me those words mean the hens run around on grass eating bugs and worms and tasty bits but to a group investigating misuse of labels it could mean the hens can walk around an indoor pen and are not totally cooped up as in a hen battery. Free to roam the range. Not likely.

Which brings me to: Without words there would be no stories. What a dreary world it would be if we had no words and could never share our dreams and fears and loves and the good feeling that comes from hearing or reading a good story. If Mr. Clements disremembers who can say him nay, so to speak. He's telling his story and you can believe it or not.

The above quotes are from Alice Through The Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll, copyright 1946 by Grosset & Dunlop. Drop by my web site, where my books are featured. I'd enjoy hearing from you.



Anny Cook said...

What a lovely post! Thank you so much, Anita!

Charlene Leatherman said...

You have made a wonderful and delightful addition to the Goddesses posts. Humpty Dumpty would be proud.