We shame ourselves with useless information and pub-quiz trivia. Usually, the shame occurs when in polite company. It's an easy trap to fall into when conversation wanes and the air grows still. Call it that 'did you know' empty moment, just aching to be filled, usually with some fascinating and soon-to-be-forgotten nugget. It trips from the tongue of the person who has nothing interesting to say. But they say it, anyway. At least Mark Twain thought so, in one of his most famous witticisms. Or perhaps it wasn't meant as a witticism. He may have been deadly serious, given that he was a global traveler and speaker. They say travel is a great means to enlightenment, which is possibly true, but I suppose the more you wander, the more chance there is you will encounter boring situations, and boring people. It's the human condition at work. Everyone seems to want to be listened to, no matter what. Everyone wants your attention, your time. Everyone needs you for something and there is no getting away. I think Oscar Wilde summed it up best of all. A bore, he said, is someone who deprives you of solitude without providing you with company. How right he was.
Not thinking about boring people or situations. Is it possible? Without getting bored with the question, that is? Finding things to stave off boredom, that's the thing. Everyone has their own diversions, their escapes. Opportunities for distraction are everywhere, begging to be enjoyed. Or should that be tolerated? I suppose it depends on taste. One man's meat is another man's reason to find a wall to bang his head against, The point is, outlets for relief from tedium are readily at hand whatever your preference. Some of them are even legal. Some of them are positively encouraged, advertised, promoted. Bored? Downhearted? Need something new? Try this - the latest anti-apathy pill. Wake up to a world of opportunity. Regain your mojo. Drag yourself out of the doldrums. One a day, to be taken with a moderate amount of food. Delirious enthusiasm for life, guaranteed.
No panacea exists to cure apathy, of course. Entertainments are plentiful, but the effects, the benefits, the feelgood factors are transitory, ephemeral. Like smoke. The illusion is powerful, though. Powerful enough to ensure that we all keep going back for more, of the same. I'm not sure what the answer might be. My solution almost certainly won't be yours, so I'll not bore you with the details.
What would you say your favourite word is? Do you ever lay awake at night, staring at the ceiling, wondering about multitudinous syllables? You don't? Perhaps it's just me. Maybe I think about this kind of stuff too much, or maybe not. It might be everyone else who doesn't pay enough attention, and not just to words. I believe in words and their power. Not only their descriptive force, their objective function, though language and civilisation as we know it would have not developed without them. No. Something else draws me, away from the sterility of the mad wordless rush of now. It is the words themselves, their touch on the tongue, their peculiar song, the way they resonate.
I try to use words with discretion and economy, but there are moments when I can't help but let rip. Times like these positively require verbosity. There is no substitute for a helping of gratuitous loquaciousness. The kind to make Charles Dickens weep, would be my advice. I don't apologise, or feel the need to. Some words are ripe for re-discovery and exposure back into the light. Old words, used in lengthy missives are owed a revival, battered as they have been by contemporary invaders and ne'er-do-wells. We need them more than ever in order to rescue the English tongue and ear from the all-pervading hell of text. So, more serendipity, if you please. More exposure to onomatopoeia. Let's invite the discombobulated round for tea and scones. Pull up a chair for disenfranchised poltroons. Let's try to all be a little more xenodochial to strangers. We will all feel better for it. All these little efforts at engagement with the language and diction of yesteryear might sound like too much of an effort. If so, I'm sorry to harp on, but I feel bitter and disaffected. Maybe it's my age. Maybe I am looking down the slippery-slope. Maybe I just like rambling.
But, please. A plea. Even if you attempt just one new word a day, do it for the sake of yours and my sanity. Either that, or carry on with your bromances as you chillax with your grrrl. Carry on wearing your jeggings to the local Tesco Express, If that is right for you, then fine. It's your choice, obvs. Me, I think I'll withdraw into my shadow with my book of choice, away from the vaccuous screenagers, with their furious sexting, textspeak and cyber-friends. I know none of these opinions chime with the current zeitgeist. Frankly, I care not. The old traditions will always be just beyond mass appreciation. Call it the natural progression of things, or a perfectly natural phenomenon. Call it what you like. I'm not sure what I would dare to call it if I was a devotee of social networking. I would probably keep my opinions to myself, unless I wanted to suffer the shame of being ostracised from the rest of humanity for daring to hold an alternate opinion. And I wouldn't want that, would I? To be 'unfriended' would be, well, just boring. And who wants to be boring?
A place of endless wonder without dragons. The home of the dodgy dialectic. A sanctuary for the frustrated and the terminally curious. Where debate meets damnation and humour lurks to surprise the unwary. From critical acclaim to diatribe. Don't be scared - come along for the ride.