This is most certainly true. And for the folks who know me, fisticuffs are not in my DNA.
Of course, this happened when I was younger–and at a brew pub–but the metaphorical significance prevails.
So there I was, gesticulating wildly to an interlocutor, spinning a yarn a mile wide whenI dropped the word ‘gerrymander’. It was admittedly not a perfect fit–but some aspect of it worked for me. I recall needing a word that connoted (not denoted!) ‘defining the shape of something for political ends’. ‘Gerrymandered’ popped out. Nice, I thought.
Here’s a quick look at what happened next:
Friend-of-a-friend: “Hey, you can’t use gerrymander like that!”
Friend-of-a-friend: “Gerrymander means…[insert political science definition here]”
Me: “I know that–but I’m free to make words conform to my needs–language is pliable per user. I get to do what I want!”
Friend-of-a-friend: “That’s ridiculous! And sloppy!”
Me: “That’s creative–and fun!”
So if you plotted the hostility on a graph it would look like a hockey stick.
All the other ‘friends-of-friends’ had to send us to opposite sides of the brew pub–DINGDINGDINGDING. It was like a boxing match… And somehow, about every 30 minutes, we would cross paths and the debate would burst open like a baked potato in a microwave.
Since I like make the world easy to understand, I’ll make this grand conclusion: Some folks just like to stick to the rules. And some folks (ahem!) think there’s just too much darn fun to be had breaking them.
The world is indeed a black and white cookie.