by Anniel 7/30/17
Our little grandson Milo, the eight year old, has done it again. He seems to have his own take on language and never forgets anything, even if it becomes slightly skewed in processing.
The other day, his mother, Anna, heard Milo answer his younger sister, the only girl in the family, as the two children were viewing an old movie. “What’s that white stick that guy has in his mouth?” Sissy asked.
“That’s a cigarette.” answered Milo.
“What’s a cigarette?” from Sissy.
“Well, it’s this thing with something called tobacco rolled up in it. You put it in your mouth, set the end on fire and breath in the smoke, then you blow it out again.” Sissy looked confounded.
That’s when Anna stepped in, “Milo, are you teaching your sister to smoke?” she asked.
Milo threw his hands over his ears, “Eye,Yi, Yi, no!” He yelled as he ran upstairs to his bedroom.
“I bet you a coconut he’s crying up there,” Sissy said as she ran after him. Then she came down to say, “You owe me a coconut.”
Milo came back downstairs, still with his hands over his ears and his mother asked, “Why are you crying? Milo, are you listening to me?”
“No,” he said, “I’m averting my ears.”
We all had to laugh at the misuse of the word. But later that night I thought, “Is this really such a misuse of the word “avert?” If we avert our eyes from something offensive or something we don’t wish to see, then can’t we also avert our ears when the sounds are ugly or offensive?
Just the sound of ugliness and hatred in the voices of some people, or the offensive words that pepper language today should make us willing to avert our ears, but why we should have need to is beyond me. What passes for speech reveals a lot about the intelligence, or total lack thereof, of a lot of people in high places, particularly in the “Fake News.” Maybe we should just avert all of what passes for news sources today.
The President should certainly let his people know that such vulgarities will not be tolerated in the White House. Anyone in the press who uses bad language or insults should be averted by being blocked from press briefings. Why should Sarah Huckabee Sanders have to take that? She seems pretty feisty, but she should just tell them to leave and revoke their press passes.
Averting your ears, along with your eyes, from ugliness and vulgarities becomes a more interesting proposition the more I consider it. Expanding the meaning of a word is great. Political correctness can be fought in many ways, and this might be an effective one. Updated dictionaries anyone?
Thank you Milo for another valuable thinking and language lesson.