Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Timeless Party Game

A noun identifies an animal, person, place, thing or idea. An intrinsic part of speech, nouns are usually the first words children learn. Yet, several individuals are noun-challenged, adults often chief among them. Granted, the affliction has not been identified by international health as serious, if it's been recognized at all. But it ought to be.

Conversing with an NCI is akin to participating in a game of charades. In both, puzzling facial expressions and bizarre body noises spurred on by demonstrative gestures are among the methods employed to potentially
enlighten the targeted problem solver of an intended message. Expressions such as "you know what I mean" or gestures, such as an aggressive tug at an ear, will hopefully elicit a desired response. But that only works if the action is not being directed at Stab-in-the-Dark Stacey, that good friend with the annoying habit of barking out the incorrect answer before you've asked the question.

Seems people are becoming lazy with their vocabulary. Put me at the front
of that line from time to time. I accept fully that cultural differences or language barriers
can impede one's ability to produce the proper word at the appropriate juncture. But when we're talking repartee between folks of the same language and dialect, ought there not be a seamless exchange not only of verbs, but nouns as well?

Noun-less conversations take place all around me. My girlfriends are the worst for it. When they tried describing a movie they saw recently, for example, it became more than a two-word review. It became a fable. They provided the most random details but when it came to the who, what, when, where, why and how (ie. the nouns that matter), something went a little haywire. And not for the first time. They were unable to pinpoint the name of the movie or the leading actors.

Girlfriend: "Oh, I just saw this movie advertised on TV last night that looked really good, we should go see it together..... I forget what it was called and I forget who was in it, but it looks really good.  It was like a
suspense ... but not a scary movie.  With that girl your dad likes . . . you know the one who was married to the guy from the action films. You know . . .he's remarried now and his new wife is a lot younger than him. She's got long dark hair. You know. They have a daughter together. They gave her an odd name. The guy in the movie has a really nice chest and he's from the same country that the movie was filmed in."

After much contemplation I deduced that the baby's odd-yet-delightful name was Suri. Her mother, Katie Holmes, is the younger woman now married to Tom Cruise, whose first wife was Nicole Kidman, from Australia, the film of the same name starring Ms. Kidman and countryman Hugh Jackman, aka, dude with hot chest. By the time I finally sorted it all out, no thanks to my friends, I was too exhausted to attend the screening.

Nouns people. Whether they're proper nouns or otherwise. Let's work on those nouns.

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