I’ll confess profanity rarely bothers me. Maybe my tolerance comes from my father, who was an army staff sergeant during World War II and didn’t always remember to temper his speech later after I made my appearance. Or maybe I’m less bothered because on the radical streets of Berkeley, California, where my husband did his graduate education, profanity was a form of proletariat poetry. In neither case were these expletives heavily laden with anger. Profanity was just another form of expression.
Now, when profanity annoys me, annoyance is usually on one of two levels. First, that my favorite entertainers are substituting that hackles-raising “F” word for pauses or phrases they can’t seem to recall. That word-of-all-words has become an aging comedian’s, “you know,” or “uh huh,” or “am I right?” and as such I’m bored by the lack of vocabulary and creativity. I cringe even more when profanity is a symptom of rage, and everyone in earshot is infected.
While I tolerate four letter words better than some of my readers, who are vocal about their dislike, I much prefer five letter words. Some of life’s very best can be summed up in five letters. Shade, books, music, happy, smile, lucky, faith, puppy, lover, quilt, buddy, kitty, youth, birth, and start as well as begin.
Want to play along? Just click on comment above on the right and tell us your favorite five letter words. Today is a good day to relax. Since this is summer, your day is either sunny, rainy or balmy, but whatever it is, it’s entirely yours. You’ll note, of course, as you think of your favorite words, that some of them have more than five letters. And some, like love and life, will be four letter words forever.
There is power in words of every length–and power is a five letter word, too. A novelist’s mission is to use the words of any length that say the most with the most precision and linger the longest. Words can change the world. Words and world. Five letters. Wasn’t that my point? P-O-I-N-T.