Monthly Archives: June 2010

52 things I know about words (and you should too): #1 Words are Absurd

I remember the beginning of my life long love affair with words. I must have been 8. Second grade. My (tiny) family (just me, mom & dad) had just moved from Eugene, Oregon to the shores of Puget Sound in the rural outskirts of Olympia, Washington. My father had accepted a job with Simpson Timber Company in nearby Shelton.

I was in my new room, in our new home. Laying in bed, the unfamiliar sounds of the tide lapping the shore outside my window. Wide awake. Too excited and unsettled to sleep. A new home, new town, tomorrow a new school and making new friends, my dad’s new job at Simpson Timber Company. I was busy trying to make sense of it all.

My mind was racing. Searching. Trying to find connections between what I had known, and what was to come. Simpson Timber Company. What was that? What is a timber company, any way? There had been some explanation about the forest and trees and how lumberjacks cut trees for the wood that made houses. And that timber companies were somehow part of that whole process.

But really, Simpson Timber Company? What did it mean? What would it mean for me? The questions just kept swirling around in my head and did not, would not stop. So I started to say the words over and over – Simpson Timber Company – and wondered. Believing perhaps that repeating the words would yield some insight into the mystery of my new life.

Simpson Timber Company. Simpson Timber Company. I said it fast. simpsontimbercompany I said it really slow. S i m p s o n T i m b e r C o m p a n y. Tim ber Com pan y. Tim ber.

I said it with feeling, like they do in the woods. Tiiiiiiiiiiiim Berrrrrrrr! I kept saying it. I let the vibration of the sounds roll around in my body. I savored the feel and the texture of the words in my mouth.

I said it in little mousey, squeeky voices ‘timber, timber’. I said it in big, booming, commanding man voices TI M BER! TI M BER! TI M BER!

Eventually, the silly sounds of the words deconstructed just started me giggling. What an absurd and funny-sounding word. Timber. Say it ten times in ten different ways, and you will see what I mean. Try it. I dare you. I’ll wait. Tiiiiiimmmmmmberrrrrrr! Continue reading

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