The Lament of the Scribe
a short story by Miles H. Rost
WARNING: Some language may not be suitable for kids, even in the proper context.
I first really noticed it when they took the word ‘contemplative’. To be contemplative means to think about something. At least, it used to, until some people got a hold of it and conflated it with the idea of emptying your mind. Why must they take my words and abuse them so?
As I sit in my den, looking over my various manuscripts, I realize that I only started recently noticing this.
Even before then, now that I think of it, they took more of my words. ‘Progressive’ used to mean forward, as ‘conservative’ once meant ‘held in reserve’, just as liberal once meant generous, and ‘congressional’ meant moving backwards. They got hijacked by renegades in blue and red, using them as bats upon which to beat each other and bludgeon until submission. Oh, how my words must feel so awful.
But these, these are not new. These changes in my words, they haven’t been just limited to larger words. Oh no, me a simple scribe could not only have words taken away and changed, but have words that should not have been added, brought in specifically to raise my ire.
The history of ‘shit’ goes back to an acronym, “Store High In Transit”. It was referring to fertilizer, in the form of animal feces. While it was fine that it suddenly became a word to describe such things, it produced an image that would make the normal, everyday user cringe with its use. Suddenly, though, people started using it as a noun to describe everything! “Pick up your shit!” “I don’t give a shit!” Oh, my poor word! Used in such ways by such uncouth of folk. And to make it worse, they even turned it into a VERB! This is horror to me! Oh my precious words, why must you add more?
I remember when words were simple, and the things you said held weight. Now everyone throws ‘fascism’, ‘socialism’, ‘elitism’, and other words around like they’re horseshoes or baseballs. They have no more meaning! When someone spoke the word ‘fascism’, people thought of really Bad THINGS. But now, everything is fascism! It’s like the description of ‘Christian’, where it used to mean something set apart from others, but now is being used by people who have no business even calling themselves as such!
I think the worst was in the 1970s. They took the basic building blocks of my life, the essential pieces of my existence, and they turned it into a love song sang with the voice of a child! And what’s worse, is that it was only the first three letters. Why, Jackson 5, did you have to do this? Why oh why must you do this to me?
I suddenly heard a scream from far away, blazing into my ears. It shrieked, “Why must you torment us?!”
Ah, beauty. Someone else who is like me.