I'll come up with something in a minute.

So, let’s have the thing I was going to talk about before but didn’t.

I would like to talk about one of the most annoying things about being a smart person who immerses themselves in obscure literature. The stuff didn’t used to be obscure. Nero Wolfe and Bertie Wooster used to be big names, The Shadow was once the biggest selling super hero on the block. However, now it can sometimes be hard to find people who have heard of them. Present company, of course, is excluded from this complaint. If you’ve been reading this for a while you know all about Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin as I mention them about 900 times a week. You haven’t been here though, it’s really bad here because I got all the audiobooks I didn’t have and started listening to them. Sorry, I got off on a tangent for a second.

The thing is, even when it’s not obscure I get problems. See, if you read a lot, watch a lot of movies or listen to a lot of music, it’s going to inform your vocabulary and your vernacular. References will slip into your speech. Little turns of phrase that you like will pop up again and again. That’s how some of the phrases we use everyday came into existence. Some writer came up with them and lots of people repeated them until they were accepted as part of the…thing that’s a synonym for vernacular but can’t be that word because I used it once in this paragraph already. Parlance? Yeah, that probably would have worked. Damn this computer for not having anyway to edit my typing.

The problem is, most people don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. If I manage to do even more chores than I’d told Syd I was going to do and as I finish the last one walk by saying “My mistake, four coffins.”… well, actually, these days she doesn’t give me a look anymore. She just gets on with her day because she knows I’ll explain the whole movie and its place in cinema history if she shows even the slightest sign of weakness.

The thing is, it’s not even things that old, or that obscure. It happens with things people should know. We’ve not cut the grass yet this year. We don’t own a mower. We had someone cut the grass, but that’s not been a priority this year and so far, the grass isn’t over grown. The weeds are starting to get a little high though and it needs taken care of. So when I borrow a mower, if I were to say “Dear Grass, now I have a machine gun. Ho-Ho-Ho!” I can tell you that some dipshit would start panicking that I was about to go after the lawn with an automatic weapon. I know, because there have been dipshits that have overreacted to lines that that before. You’re reading this on the internet, it’s a Google search away, and the context should seem a bit odd, yes? Do people normally attack the lawn with MP5’s in your world? And… it’s fucking Die Hard! It’s not like it’s some small independent movie from Sri Lanka or something. It’s one of the most influential action movies of the last 25 years! Yet, some dickhead won’t get the reference, grab the wrong end of a completely different stick and start telling people I’m getting drunk and shooting at grass. Few things are as annoying as having to stop someone during a gibberish laden false accusation fest and say “Okay, first, explain to me what the fuck you think you’re talking about. I need to understand what’s going on inside your head so I can fully explain why you’re not only wrong, but also a colossal moron.”

Happened once or twice, why do you ask?

Second problem, which is almost as big, is when trying to talk to ignorant people and thinking that everyone knows what some words mean. I don’t mean ignorant as a euphemism for dumb here, just ignorant of some words. Someone will either not understand a word and ask me to explain what that word is, or will think I’m trying to prove how much smarter I am by throwing big vocabulary words at them.

Dealing with the second part first, I have so many ways to prove how much smarter I am than 98% of the people I meet, using my expansive vocabulary doesn’t even occur to me. I prove I’m smarter by discussing ideas, concepts, histories and stories those people can’t possibly understand. Seriously, vocab taunting would be fuckin’ grade school shit compared to talking about dark matter. When I decide to admit to someone’s existence in order to speak to them at all, I want to communicate. If that person can’t understand the words, then I’m just wasting my time, even more than normal. Besides, if someone thought you were stupid, they wouldn’t use big words they thought were above you, they’d use small ones because they think you’re too stupid to understand the big ones. Always watch a person who changes their vocabulary around, they are an asshole.

Now the second part of that we can go a book called Champagne for One. Yep, it’s a Nero Wolfe book. In it, Wolfe is trying to get information from a girl and he asks her is she ever had an inkling about something. The girl then asks “What’s an inkling?” to which he replies “An intimation. A hint.” and as the questioning goes on, he keeps having to try and find simpler and simpler words. I always love that scene, as I’ve lived it more times than I can remember.

They play it pretty well in the episode they made of that book for the A&E TV show. It’s a two parter.
Part One
Part Two

May 22, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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