Captivating conversation is disappearing almost as rapidly as glaciers and ice shelves. The culprit, as always, is the hot air created by humans — mostly in the form of inflammatory belligerence. Militance isn’t quiet. Nor is it chill.
You’ve heard of the Algonquin Round Table, right? They were a gang of smarty pants sophisticates back in the day — Dorothy Parker, Alexander Woollcott, Robert Benchley, etc. — and the toast of the town. They’d gather for lunch at the Algonquin Hotel in New York and try to top each other with funny, biting remarks and stories. Those lunches became so famous they drew onlookers (also known as eavesdroppers). Can you imagine? Witty, civilized, high-flown discussions were actually considered entertainment. In the United States!
That was the heyday of clever conversation.
Today’s social encounters, by comparison, barely qualify as conversation. No sentence is complete without an effing or six in there. The f-bomb is used as a noun, a verb, an adjective, a greeting, an accusation, a threat, an exclamation, even a term of endearment. As a result, f**k is so overused it has the shock value of ‘heck’ or ‘gosh,’ which at least have a retro vibe going for them.
Then, too, there’s the ranting and dissembling, the preposterous claims, as well as the flaming craziness of the clamoring fringe. Oy, it’s exhausting to listen to, so most of us don’t.
C’mon, we can do better. Lots better. We can, with a little effort, lead the way out of the echo chamber by expressing our thoughts in a charming fashion. To do that, we need words. New words. Old words. Stylish words. Fun words. The runts and mutts, the overlooked and abandoned and dated, the forgotten. When, may I ask, is the last time you used the word ‘dodgy?’ Or ‘flamboyant?’ ‘Sozzled?’ ‘Fiduciary?’ ‘Tosh.’ Sprinkle those into your conversation from time to time, listeners will swoon. Perhaps they’ll even follow your witty example and, voilà, engaging banter will spread like covid. Before you know it, society will at least sound well-mannered.
That’s my dream, anyway. With your help it can come true. Start stocking up on curiously engaging words, they’ll be your ammunition. Take note of the brief compilation below and use it as motivation or a head start. Either way, you’ll be prepared to disarm the world with good-natured raillery.
>>> A Starter Kit <<<
backfriend = an enemy posing as a friend
all-overish = feeling vaguely uneasy
bêtise = a fancy word for stoopidity
happify = to make happy
jackassery = a piece of folly
gobemouche = a gullible person
grudgeful = filled with resentment
sloomy = feeling sleepy, sluggish
mordacious = sharp or biting in manner
Ready? Set? Hobnob.
copyright © 2023 the whirly girl
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