Monday, July 12, 2010

How Much Is That?

I'm not talking currency, but words.  There are a great number of words in the English language with just a modicum of clarity to their meaning.  Quite a few are seldom specific.  And when I say a few, I'm guessing just a bit.  How many is a few?  Let me take a moment to ponder.

I can say, with relative certainty, that a few is more than a couple.  Couple can be defined as two.  That is clear.  And while a few is vaguely more than a couple, it is, to a degree, less than some.  Which is a far cry from a bunch.  Of course, there are a whole host of other words whose meanings could be debated for some time.

One of my favorites is 'moment'.  Just how long is a moment?  I will wait, for a time, while you think about it.

I like to use words like these when making promises.  I once worked for a wretched woman, about whom I can say, she never broke a promise.  She never made a promise, so she certainly never broke one.

In my job as an airline pilot, I'm often expected to speak to the traveling public, be it a routine welcome aboard over the PA, or an update on a delay.  Vagaries are my lifelines.  If we are experiencing an extended delay, I can say, "we expect to depart in a moment,"  and I will never be wrong.

That's why I like these unknowns.  No one can ever accuse you of dishonesty, if they can't define what you say.

1 comment:

Okie said...

When dealing with my kids, I love the ambiguity of a "moment"...when patiently waiting for something myself, I dislike its indefinite nature.