From Perfection(ism) to Love, from Love to Perfection

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—‘tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.” —Mark Twain

When I first read this Mark Twain quote this morning I thought, “Ain’t THAT the truth!”

But then I started thinking back to a criticism I had made earlier this week about another reporter — and to my shame, I made that criticism to more than just one or two people. A word was used in a way that set my teeth on edge, and I decided (in all my vast wisdom and experience) that I needed to share my superior standing in the literary world with those around me.

Which is a fancy way of saying I was a snarky bitch.

The sentence was something like this: “… and the couple found the architecture intriguing, so they stopped for a look …”

Huh, “intriguing?” I’ve seen what my own kids do (grown kids) while stuck for just the right word while working in Word, they right click, choose “synonyms” and pick one — without even knowing what the heck that word means or how it is specifically applied!!! (Can you tell that drives me crazy?!)

My point with the use of the word “intrigue” was this: women can be intriguing and a puzzle can be intriguing, but just because  the first definition in the dictionary says intriguing says “to arouse the curiosity or interest of” doesn’t mean a person in a mild state of interest can be called “intrigued.” Look at the rest of the definitions, numbers two through six, “craftily plotting, underhanded machinations” and so on. (Uh, I have nothing against women specifically, btw … mostly.)

There goes that snarky bitch again.

“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” —Theodore Roosevelt

Anyway, the rest of the story was great. The reporter had put much more work into the story than I probably would have (gee, I sure hope my bosses don’t secretly subscribe to my prayer blog! :P), and it was just that ONE single use of that ONE little word that I jumped on like a red-tailed hawk on a vole.

Shame on me.

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” —Blessed Mother Teresa

Thank you, Mother Teresa, for setting me straight this morning.

~ by Kimberly Mason on December 9, 2010.

4 Responses to “From Perfection(ism) to Love, from Love to Perfection”

  1. I use intrigued incorrectly a lot then :). Sometimes I’m intrigued in a coy sort of way (oh tell me more!), and sometimes I use it in an “it piqued my interest” sort of way. Oops!

    • Not that I’m the Word Definition Queen, mind you (I’m scared of earning a permanent “Snarky Queen Bitch” title)! But now that you’ve said “piqued,” it makes me think of all the other wonderful words like “piqued” that are so, so … intriguing! Wait … hmm … damn …

  2. I have the Mother Teresa quote posted at my desk. I am surrounded by very conservative folk that need to be reminded there is a place for all of us at the table!

    • I’m reading “Spiritual Direction,” Henri Nouwen. In it he talks about visiting with Mother Teresa.

      “Once, quote a few years ago, I had the opportunity of meeting Mother Teresa of Calcutta. I was struggling with many things at the time and decided to use the occasion to ask Mother Teresa’s advice. As soon as we sat down I started explaining all my problems and difficulties—trying to convince her of how complicated it all was! When, after ten minutes of elaborate explanation, I finally became quiet, Mother Teresa looked at me and quietly said, “Well, when you spend one hour a day adoring your Lord and never do anything which you know is wrong … you will be fine!”

      Getting so wrapped up in the details that we can’t see the big picture, the Big Picture of LOVE, is where we always go wrong. Don’t you think?

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