John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Ignorance is NOT Bliss

jyb_musingsIgnorance isn’t bliss. Or else almost everybody would be blissful –instead of straining to pretend we are knowledgeable.

Maybe that is an overstatement but the prevalence of my own ignorance astounds me sometimes.

Today I listened to a gentleman point out how many times a particular word shows up in a particular book. The idea was that the word –a concept really–was important because it is used so often by the author.

That got me to thinking. “OK then. What word is used more than any other in the book? That word must be the most important word of all, right? I figured it is probably the word ‘the.’ That doesn’t mean ‘the’ is the most important word or “message.” It is just ironic given the point my friend was making –and I (silently) was being a smart aleck.

But then I tried to define “the” to myself. “Well,” I thought, “it’s an article…and means…um…um….well what it means is….it is….means…..geez…I got nothing.”

That’s right. In addition to “the” perhaps being the most common word in most any book, “the” is the word –of the thousands of words I utter each day–the word I use most of all!!

And I have no idea beyond a finessed fake answer what the dickens “the” means or how to define it. My most used word in the English language.

So I looked it up. And here is the definition.

“The (used, especially before a noun, with a specifying or particularizing effect, as opposed to the indefinite or generalizing force of the indefinite article a or an):the book you gave me; (Come into the house)”

And I was reminded why I am not able to define “the” –and probably never will be able to.

But I am gonna keep using the heck out of the word “the” anyway!

The end. (Whatever that means.)


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