Saturday, September 6, 2008

Make Hay While the Sun Shines

There are several sayings and words I use that I've noticed a lot of people have no clue what I am talking about or trying to communicate. This is pretty frustrating for me, because I'm not sure if I'm the weird one, or if they're just uneducated.

For instance, the other night while hanging out with Paul and Julia, I said something to Paul about how he needed to get his homework done now since he had the time, and I tagged on, "Make hay while the sun shines." He looked at me like I had something bright orange on my forehead then asked me what that was supposed to mean. I said, "Haven't you ever heard that? It means do things while you have the time before you can't do them anymore. Get things done early and work hard while you have the chance."

I looked to Julia for confirmation, but she looked only slightly enlightened by my explanation. "You've heard that, haven't you?" I asked her.

"No, actually," she answered.

"You say a lot of things that no one's ever heard of," Paul said.

Now see this is frustrating for me, because it happens quite often. A lot of the traditional sayings I grew up hearing and learning turn out to be "family sayings."

However, it's not just with sayings though, so that's what leads me to believe people are uneducated. I can't recall an exact instance now, but there have been several times I'll be in conversation with a few people, even at college and in my advanced English classes, and I'll say a word or two that, to me, seem normal. I've read them, I've said them, I've used them in conversation with my sister or mother or brother... but everyone else, when they hear them, either look surprised and say, "Wow, that's a big word!" or they just look confused and ask me to rephrase my sentence.

I don't know, I suppose that's what happens when you don't grow up watching SpongeBob like everyone else, and you actually read books like Jane Eyre when you're 11 or 12. Maybe I am the weird one. It feels wrong to "dumb myself down" though and use smaller words or shorter sentences.

That thought actually leads me to another, one that bothered me a lot in my English class quite a bit. Just because I know how to write longer sentences, unlike the rest of the current population, with the usage of semicolons and correctly placed commas, doesn't mean that I should have to shorten them just to make them easier to read. Doesn't anyone read older literature anymore and actually understand it? I'll give that -- was it Mark Twain?-- wrote much too long of sentences; 1 page sentences get a little tiring. However, the usage of one semicolon is not ridiculous and outdated as my teacher and fellow students tried to tell me.

Oh well. I'll keep being the English freak and try to get used to not being able to communicate well, even though I'm the one communicating correctly. *sigh*


Jess(ica) said...

Short of reading a dictionary (and I know someone who was forced to as a kid) the only way you really learn "big" words is by hearing or reading them =)

I think people prefer to communicate in a way that is comfortable for them. And, having been an English major, not only are you good at various forms of communication, you probably really enjoy learning new and "big" words, perfecting your grammar, and finding fun sayings or quips. Others may not enjoy this as much and simply find other things to excel in.

Thus, I don't necessarily think it's a matter of being educated or not; most often, I'd be willing to bet it's a matter of taking interest in learning various ways to communicate more effectively.

But let me say that if I ever needed someone to edit an important paper or speech, you may be the first person I'd go to because I know communication is one of your strengths. =)

aunt in mn said...

Maybe you should become an English teacher. A lot of the current "sponge bob" generation never had a teacher (or mother) challenge or inspire them to read good books. It's so much easier to watch tv than to read and use your imagination. A teacher with passion can really change peoples lives! "Food for thought!" Love ya!

grandma said...

"Bear"...what I wouldn't give to be able to communicate and Spell!!!I have always had a hearing problem all my life, and english was a problem for me...I have always "admire" people who have the skills you have (and so many other family members) are blessed to be able to write like you do...don't give it up or change in matter what anyone else may say or think...this has been something I have always wanted all my life...but I have had to do the best I can with what I have...Love ya

not2brightGRAM said...

By the way, I LOVE your blog template! Is it custom or did you get it fro blogger?