You know how much I love wordplay. And I’ve been thinking a lot about words lately (shocking, I know). Then I started thinking about how words connote so much for us. For example, the word “fart.”
What do you think of when you hear/read/say it? Does your nose wrinkle in distaste? Does your mind wander to the last time you suffocated due to someone sharing a fart with you? Do you think of well, you know? Fascinating, isn’t it, that one word immediately triggers both a sensory and/or experiential reaction, and you think of words that define/explain it?
SO: I started wondering if the same response would have happened if we suddenly swapped out words with each other. Just think if Bill (yes, Shakespeare—he and I have an understanding: He calls me Princess Hummingbird. It’s a thing we have.), had written “That which we call a fart / By any other name would smell as sweet.”
Ha! We would then like the smell of farts, as the word would refer to a beautiful, pleasantly fragrant flower that symbolizes love. We would tell each other to stop and smell the farts. Bon Jovi would tell us he wanted to lay us down in a bed of farts. (OK: I have to stop, but please feel free to add your own!)
My point is simply that words immediately make us think of other words. They are powerful enough to elicit a physical response as well. We as readers, writers, thinkers, and just plain humans have the amazing ability to sift through the words presented to us, derive meaning from the context, then insert those words and meanings into our own use of language. Awesome, right?
But I still think it’s funny to play around with our vocabulary as I think about the “what-ifs” regarding the phrases we use. And c’mon, really: The next time you feel flatulent, let people know that you have to “rose” and see what they say.