* * *
“I got nothing,” he said, spreading his hands, a pair of anchors adorning each beefy arm.
I shook my head as a proper response failed to coalesce. In the many years of my life, I had come to appreciate an educated vocabulary. The spoken word is a marvelous thing with subtle implications. Allusions to what happens below the surface of the speaker live in wonderful flavors of intimation. It’s like the perfect chocolate dessert melting on the tongue – a chocolate that sooths the pain of living in an uncouth world.
Words are the musical blueprint of communication. An amateur makes a respectable showing, but true artists paint words from a palette unavailable to mere mortals. They command speech with a depth of meaning – sometimes so profound, that conflict begins and ends with the utterance of a few simple words. Lives lived and lives lost, as a testament to the power of words over love, hate, fear, misery, bigotry and privilege.
But this man, this man is the epitome of my exasperation. So often I’ve encountered cretinous vocalization from those gifted in speaking, who had the potential to say so much more. Not just in the quantity of words, but in a quality that bared the depths of their intellect. But alas, these people say nothing of consequence. They open their mouths and allow vapidity to fall out and soil their shoes. Their awareness of what they could do with words is so deficient; they are wolves, hidden in darkness, baying at the moon.
The indented puns and nonsense words are human proof of the assault on my tender ears. Ears with unexplained bruises, aching for intelligence as if they were starving. A hunger, I dare say, like watching an elaborate feast with all in attendance ignoring the meticulously prepared food and the best chocolate the chef had to offer – only to fill up on tough bread. Their teeth gnashing in an attempt to gain sustenance from such commonality. The sadness is overwhelming, and an assault to my delicate sensibilities.
Like a diver breaching the surface, gasping for air as gases burn his lungs, I needed words – moreso than a dragon covets gold. Words were my life and this dolt couldn’t seem to string together more than a scant few in reply to my query. A query so ingrained in the experience, I would think the response would be commonplace. But, I suppose, even a commonplace reply from a commonplace man in a commonplace setting was just too much to hope for.
Speak! I willed the man to form the affirmative or the declarative negative. Speak and the entire world shall hear, waiting on bated breath for the conclusion of this epic discourse…
“Uh,” he finally replied, looking up to me, “I suppose I should super-size it.”
“Splended!” I chimed, pressing a button matching his response. “That’ll be six dollars and twenty-seven cents. Please pull through to the next window.”