I know, I’m a day late and a dollar short. Well actually I’m about a week late, (although I continually remind myself that I never professed to have a posting schedule) and, let me tell you, way more than a dollar short since leaving for my extended sojourn on the beach. But that’s the thing about words. They don’t always make clear what we are trying to say. As a shallow person I like things to be pretty straightforward so when I find myself trying to navigate through the murky world of ambiguous language I get a little cranky. Let’s take this little “dollar short” saying for instance which apparently has nothing to do with money. According to “Wiktionary”, which I am sure ranks up there somewhere between Oxford and Webster, the meaning of the phrase in question is “Action that was taken too late and is too feeble to be of any use.” Well if that’s the case, why not just say so? Why make me start worrying about my bank account for no reason whatsoever? Which leads me to believe that perhaps we should all take note of Horton’s sage advice and try harder to “say what we mean, and mean what we say”.
Lately, during my long walks on the beach, I’ve been thinking about this very thing; how words can have multiple meanings and how confusing that can get. Take the word “edge” for instance. For some reason I’ve been thinking about that one alot. It seems to me that people can be “on edge” which isn’t usually a good thing because it means something not so great is going on in their lives. It’s really hard to talk to someone who is on edge because they are not focused on what you are saying. And you never know for sure how they are going to react because they are not feeling like “themselves”, another rather perplexing concept since for all intents and purposes they still look an awful lot like who they are. While they are on edge it’s good to “be there” for them, which doesn’t mean you actually have to be with them but you should be if they call you and ask you to come by. The good thing is you don’t have to worry too much about them jumping off a bridge because they are only on edge, not “on the edge”. Which is an entirely different thing.
People who are living “on the edge” are more inclined to take risks that are outside most of our comfort zones. Turning back to my trusty online wiktionary I discover that these are people who “have an adventurous or perilous lifestyle; behave in a manner which creates risks for oneself.” And apparently this sometimes works out for them and sometimes doesn’t as the second definition provided is: “To be caught in an economic or societal situation which one did not choose, which threatens one’s well-being or life, and which causes distress.” So if you are that way inclined, I would proceed with caution. Unless you are one of the disciples of the “Living on the Edge” organization whose purpose is to “help Christians live like Christians”, which may not be quite as risky or distressing, although I can’t say for sure. Of course being on edge might prove to be preferable to being “edgy” which means you could be “on the edge between acceptable and offensive”. Honestly, given the choice between “distressed” and “offensive” I’m going to have to go with the former.
But none of this is really why I have been thinking about the word “edge” these past few weeks. The real reason I’ve been dwelling on this four letter word is that each day, as I walk on the sand I am acutely aware that I am literally standing on the edge of the continent. As I look out to the west there is nothing but ocean. Granted the edge ebbs and flows slightly with the tides, but it’s never more than a few steps away. In the evening, I watch the sun disappear as it makes it’s way below the edge. And every once in awhile I see a boat approaching from beyond the edge.
Now don’t get me wrong. I know that globes don’t have any real edges so I’m not overly concerned about falling off the edge. But I gotta tell you. If this was 1492 there’s no way, no how that anyone is going to convince me to get on one of those ships. Which probably means I’m not a “living on the edge” kind of gal. Yet here I am. Go figure!
And while I’m talking about words I want to send a few good ones out to my friends, and the best property managers ever, Liz and Bruce. If you happen to be travelling over to Vancouver Island and need a place to stay, you’re going to want to give them a call at Victoria Prime ‘cause they will take great care of you. And I’m not just saying that because they have done a bang up job of managing my little island abode. But they have, so I can promote them because it’s my shallow blog and I can do what I want to. And they read it and think it’s funny. So this one’s for them.