Saturday, December 03, 2005

Peeves and Blessings

This past week I discovered a running topic—at school, on a writer’s loop—and it has me thinking. A dangerous thing to do, as my husband would tell you. The topic wove through different categories but the central issue rested on pet peeves. A few of mine cropped up and I’d like to vent…I mean share.

One of my pet peeves has to do with those who are in the spotlight, speaking from a platform of intelligence and authority (evening news, politicians, experts) and they can’t even pronounce the word “often” correctly. It’s not that hard. I know it comes up as a fourth grade spelling word when studying words with silent letters. So why do adults, who surely have gone to school for longer than a high school diploma, insist on pronouncing the word as if the /t/ is vocalized? Huh?

And why must teachers, who have taught for decades and have more certifications than you or I can shake a stick at, need to prove they have enough credentials to be allowed to pay $100+ for one more certificate just to be allowed do the job they were already doing? (Long, ugly sentence—longer, uglier story)

And why is it that when I finally get a chance to work on my writing, I have an inbox overflowing with e-mail just dying to be answered, or unexpected company, or even more unexpected illness. Not fair.

I’ve caught myself feeling peevish about these and other things this week. Funny how once you get started it kind of snowballs into an avalanche of peeves.

Thankfully, I’ve found a solution.

Remember Paul’s instructions to the Philippian Church? “…whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” If I put my mind on the things of God, I can start to be grateful for living in a time where information can be provided so easily, that I have a job where I can touch so many lives (hopefully in a way that lifts Jesus up), and for the stories in my head, the visitors in my home, having a home and relatively good health. That is way more than many can claim and I’m seriously remiss in thanking my Abba for His abundant blessings all around when I focus on the irritants.

So, what to do when you come down with a case of the peeves? Do what I’m learning to do, count your blessings—old song, better idea.

Here’s wishing you lots to count.

Abundant blessings,


Jennifer Tiszai said...

Whew, I was afraid I was going to be one of your pet peeves. :) You know, crit partners who IM you because they're freaking out over how to construct a scene. :)

ValMarie said...

about the "often" mini-rant... :-)

I have to say that where I live we say often with the "t". And I never had it on a spelling list with silent letters (I did pay attention in school and went to a swanky private school for my elementary years).

I honestly sat here staring at your post going "huh?", so I checked which often has interesting usage notes from the American Heritage Dictionary about words and I found this:

During the 15th century English experienced a widespread loss of certain consonant sounds within consonant clusters, as the (d) in handsome and handkerchief, the (p) in consumption and raspberry, and the (t) in chestnut and often. In this way the consonant clusters were simplified and made easier to articulate. With the rise of public education and literacy and, consequently, people's awareness of spelling in the 19th century, sounds that had become silent sometimes were restored, as is the case with the t in often, which is now frequently pronounced. In other similar words, such as soften and listen, the t generally remains silent.

Just thought I'd present the other side of the story, y'know? ;-)

Jenny said...

Okay, Val you've got documentation, so I'll accept it but it still sounds strange to my ear. I looked it up in my trusty Funk and Wagnall and it only shows /of' en/. Maybe I'm just old (my kids think I am) but I still prefer the silent T. Gives something else to be thankful for, though--being able to have preferences:-) And if that is the worst I can come up with to rant about, my life is really very good. Thanks for checking in!
Abundant blessings,