More Fool You

1 Apr

Words. Essentially the idea behind them is that you scrawl a few symbols next to each other onto a piece of paper, and if someone familiar with your language sees them, they’ll be able to read that word and know exactly what you mean. Let’s look at an example:

BUTTERCUP

If you speak English, you’ll know that those symbols put together mean this:

However, if you’re of a certain age with an obsession for pop culture references, this might have come to mind instead:

Or, god forbid, this:

So now we see that words can be a little more complicated than we first thought.

There are thousands and thousands of words in English and at least 100% of those words have more than one meaning. Last night after tea, I had a delicious pudding that many of you may be familiar with—gooseberry fool. It was light and creamy and just so dreamy that I confess I had seconds.

Yet the word fool has other meanings. It can refer to a different noun, meaning “silly or stupid person.” Believe it or not, it can even be a verb, “to trick or deceive.” Often when a person has been “tricked or deceived,” they are considered to be a fool. Ironically, the opposite is true. I am not unaware of a man who considers himself an expert at “fooling” people—I’ll refer to him as Mr X as I’m quite good friends with his wife, Mrs Patrick Grayson Harrison, and I don’t want to embarrass her. Mr X seems to believe quite strongly that he can fool others—sometimes by telling an untruth and sometimes by leaving gaps in the information he shares. One evening he told his wife that work had kept him late, when actually he had gone ten-pin bowling with his mates. A few months later when his wife asked how his day had gone, he said “Fine,” when he had in fact been severely reprimanded by his employer for shoddy work on a report. Now no doubt at the time he was actively tricking her, he was thinking, “My wife is such a fool.” However, she always found out the truth. So not only was Mr X’s deception revealed but his attempt at fooling only added extra nastiness to the whole affair. In the end, as is clear to all and sundry, it was Mr X who was proving himself to be the silly or stupid person.

Now believe it or not, some words are even more complicated. Take a word like “hurt.” It can be a verb, noun and even an adjective! What the eff? How are we to ever tell what a person really means?

Considering that words are the basis for our communication, it’s no wonder we get confused sometimes. The best we can do is be precise in the words we speak and thoughtful in the way we listen.

And it’s probably best for everyone to just avoid all types of fools—unless it’s the gooseberry kind, to which I say, Thirds, please!

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