Friday 6 January 2012


Do you ever come across those words in the English language that you are simply at a loss to define, or to be more on point, no longer seem applicable in today’s society? Okay, I’m thinking the list is very long, but there are a few linguistic suspects that are glaringly obvious.

Like, for instance the word 'perfection'. Seriously, why is this albatross of false hope still hanging around? I get it, its design is a bit utopian in nature, something for the human race to strive for, or at least to be able to rest easy in the knowledge that out there in the universe things exist that are indeed perfect (or at least deemed so). Like, for example, a circle or an atom….or of course, the King (yes, I’m hideously biased). Aside from that really, what can you think of that describes perfection that isn’t an individual being exceedingly generous and optimistic. My cappuccino this morning was ‘perfect.’ I get it, it was very good, and the foam was just the right amount of air and fluff; But perfect? Who is holding the measuring stick for that one?

I realize this whole argument falls into the category of semantics, but where it begins to bother me (or disturb me, shall we say) is when people begin defining certain things in life as ‘perfect’ or use the word ‘perfect’ as some sort of barometer of success: the perfect marriage, the perfect evening, the perfect body (a serious farce)…and the worse culprit, the perfect man or woman. As far as I’m concerned there is no such thing as any of the above, so to deem it so – and even worse, to strive for it - is just false advertising and a recipe for disaster. So, in my view, as there is no such thing as perfect (aside from of course as stated above, a circle, rainbow, blab la bla) if you’re going to use the word, you better tack on a caveat on the end of the sentence, i.e. the perfect man (here comes our caveat) for me. Everything as far as I can see it is flawed – and often in beautiful ways, so don’t get me wrong here – and unique unto itself.  Setting yourself on a quest to find the ‘perfect’ tulip is one thing, and I’m sure you’ll find it; but the perfect relationship? Save yourself the headache.

The other word that drives me nuts and should be put out to word pasture is normal. Living in today’s society, someone please tell me (I implore you) how the heck one defines what ‘normal’ is? Again, I realize it depends on what you are describing or comparing it against, but even then, it’s a stretch. The problem is, normal nowadays is used to define things that have been defined by a society that is anything but 'normal' (are you following me, or have I completely lost you?)....a normal individual; a normal sex life (snore); a normal upbringing…you see where I’m going with this. 

You hear it all the time, ‘he was such a nice, normal guy.’ Yeah, until he hacked up the neighbors and made them into a quiche. Or even worse, the converse, and society’s favorite label: ‘she or he was far from normal.’ And do tell, who the heck is normal to compare them against? A heterosexual, churchgoing, pro-life, Republican, man that works for a bank and has two kids and an Irish Setter. Is that normal? I fear that for some that certainly may be. But these days as far as I’m concerned it’s just as normal as a homosexual, democrat, CEO with body piercings, a pet pig, and a leaning for Buddhism.

In short, before you start throwing around the words normal or perfect, remember what you’re comparing them/he/she/it against (and also keep in mind how many fabulous adjectives there are in the English language, come on, we can do better than normal!). Things may be normal or perfect to you, but they’re another man’s imperfect abnormality. This I can assure you.

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