Bringing back semaphore.

Language. Good innit?

By language I mean words. Obviously there are lots of other forms of communication. As the BBC would say, “other methods of communication ARE available.”

Semaphore. That’s a good one. A bit showy and sometimes inconvenient if you don’t have a shit load of flags with you, but on the whole good. One of my top five.

But I’m not gonna analyse language or linguistics. I’m not David Crystal and I’ve not had anywhere near enough to drink. So I’ll leave that for the experts and just spaff out what’s in my headbox just now. About some words. And words.

Words like ‘I love you’, ‘thank you’, ‘never enough cheese’, ‘hope’ and ‘daddy’ make me smile.


But not today.

Today I can’t smile. I just don’t have it in me today.

Two words make me smile more than most. Usually. The words “free bar.”

Two words scare me more than anything. The words “hen party.”

But some words confuse me. Some phrases confuse me.ย The phrase ‘we got on like a house on fire’ – what the dick does that mean?

A house? On fire? “Ahhhhh save me, save me, my house is on fire! Help! My house is on fire! Ahhh someone rescue my cupboard full of porn, my house is on fire!”

A house on fire is not a good thing. So why do people get on like one?

Another one that confuses me. For the best. It’s for the best. We should do this as it’s for the best.

Really? Is it? Why does this phrase crop up when, actually, what you’re doing DOESN’T feel for the best and actually feels hell? Like someone is ripping your heart out through your damp eyes. It’s not for the best now. It’s fucking awful. Actually. So there.

In time though eh? In time it’ll be for the best. Pain + Time = The best. Or something. It’s an equation. I’ve just made it up.

And words, can hurt. Few things have the power to hurt more than words. Few things have such power actually. To make you smile, laugh, dance a jig of joy or make you want crawl into a ball and hide from the world. A smack round the face hurts, but that pain can fade. Someone saying something nasty about you doesn’t. You can replay and repeat these words in your head. They can undermine you. For the rest of your life.

Words can hurt people. Cause pain and upset. Cause worry and fear. There’s stuff like this going on at the moment on my Twitter timeline. People are upset by words said by someone they’ll never meet, judgements made on a series of 140 character missives. It’s sad to see as I hate seeing people upset when sometimes it’s best to say sorry, very little, or nothing at all.

My gran told me that once you say something it’s said. You can’t undo it. If you say something wrong, bad, mean or upsetting to others then you can only apologise and hope that’s enough.

I always hope I say the right thing at the right time. I know I don’t sometimes, but I do know when I’ve done wrong and I know when to say sorry.

I also know that we’re all simply a few words away from being a dick, destroying our lives, hurting others and…

What the fuck am I trying to say?

Dunno. I don’t have the words today.

My mum used to talk the hind legs off a donkey. Natter, natter, chitter chatter. About anything and everything. A few years back she had serious stroke and now she’s quieter. Quiet. Words don’t come out any more. When words do come out, sometimes they’re the wrong ones. She knows what’s going on and this upsets her. It upsets her that she can’t express herself clearly any more. The pain on her face is there for all to see. She cries.

The power of words. Having them, or losing them. Understanding them or not.

Perhaps we should just stick to semaphore.

What are your favourite words, phrases, or which scare you or confuse you most? Pop a comment in the comments section and let’s have some fun.

And thanks for reading.

17 responses to “Bringing back semaphore.

  1. Sticks and stones and all that. Yeah words can hurt quite a bit. So can withering looks. And being ignored when you are really craving words directed at you with an expectation of words in reply. I like words I do, but they have to be the right ones and preferably in the right order. Sometimes happens ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Beautifully put. Please enlighten me on the wonderful phrase that is : ‘dont teach your grandmother to suck eggs’. Err, what in the World does that mean and what kind of crazy person first thought it up?!

  3. Gosh, where do i start? I’m a blubbering wreck for days at being at the re eiving end of a throwaway criticism, insult or bad word. I ne er forget, and often don’t forgive. Every word you’ve said rings true. We need to man/woman up? No, not if it means changing ourselves. I’m just glad im not famous on twitter.

  4. Words can hurt and that hurt never goes away but I find only if I care about the opinion of the person saying them. If I don’t give a fark for the person then they can say what they like. The hurt comes from the person you care about being cruel. it’s the sentiment not the actual words. Or is it the words themselves. I love words anyway. I’ve always liked the word “portion” because it makes me think of Chinese food as in portion of rice. I like my boy saying Mummy too and Octopus. He says that really well. And cock – that’s a great word and has limitless comedy value.

    • Good points. True. Words can hurt more depending on who says them, which is why I try to chose mine carefully. I don’t always manage it though.
      Cock is a great word which I intend to use a bit more. But not when the children are about obvs nobs.
      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  5. Springroll, baguette, shunkley (as in something sparkley) quagmire. Just a few. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think sometimes the lack of words can be just as scary. Smoke signals are a good idea too, covers a greater distance. Hugs! Xx jojo

  6. Words can do anything. They can hurt its true, but making you laugh and smile is a better use for them. Hope you feel better soon. Btw, when I was a kid I worried that we only had a certain number of each word in us, if we used all of one sort (eg please, can, I, have) then we’d have to start using the uncommon ones, like aardvark, sambuca, perceptible, cornflower….sorry what was I rambling? What ever…hugs

    • Love that idea. I once wondered the same thing but about geography. Do some parts of the world use more than others because other parts use less.
      I thought about this for a whole five minutes then had some toast. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. I’m so sorry these words hurt you. I personally think it’s inappropriate to blog them/ However, it may in fact be too soon for anything ‘real’ but what do I know. I’m sorry you’re (both) in pain. Take care of YOU xx

    • I will. I’m doing so by watching a bit of cricket. That’s a good start despite the shocking batting performance thus far.
      Actually, perhaps I should forget the cricket. It’s not going well. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. I use to teach semaphore – we used glow sticks, much more fun than flags and all that guff. Life throws us curved balls everynow and again. My favourite words? Love, please, thanks, hug. My least favourite words? hate, pain, misery.
    Some-one somewhere is watching over both of you, and some-one somewhere has a plan. You don’t know, and we don’t know, but they do. Huge hugs, and thinking of you both. x

  9. Words. Little blighters. Why is it that it’s the negative ones that really stick? After years of being told by an ex that I was worthless I am now married to a man who has told me nearly everyday since we met how great he thinks I am, yet it’s the unimportant nobody’s words that really stuck and that I hold responsible for my severe lack in confidence in myself.
    As for sayings: ‘Time’s a healer’, wtf? No it’s not. Stuff hurts as bad as it did 10-odd years ago, we just learn to handle it better, so don’t give the credit to ‘time’.
    Finally, I’m sorry you’re hurting.

  10. Once they are out of your mouth you can’t put them back in…I think they something about “putting your foot in it”. Language can be such a beautiful thing and we honour people who are able to use it and express themselves in different ways, poetry, novels….When people tell me now how they slept like a baby I tend to question it. I guess the thing about words is that they are followed by so many different actions that when people use them there meanings can change. Sometimes people really would prefer to use their bodies or give gifts to try and show what they really mean. Communication is tricky in general when you think about it!

    I hope soon you can find the right words to make you feel “better” and if not hopefully you can find another means of expression

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