Acquainted #2 – Hurtful Words

“Stick and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me”… Well, this didn’t apply to a guy I knew. Words were hurtful to him — as in producing physical pain. However, he loved words. He loved reading, he loved talking– writing, not so much. But love hurts, right? Words hurt him whenever somebody used them incorrectly. That’s when he suffered.

Hearing minor mispronunciations and grammar errors caused him headaches, which he claimed were under control as time went by. Let’s say he got used to people. If he read the mistakes, then the pain increased, making him cry. He couldn’t stand words, those beautiful creations, being mistreated, misused.

“There’s only one word that kills me if I hear it”. And he said, the forbidden word — never to be repeated if he was around, for safety.

His condition worsened. He had to quit watching TV and listening to songs because it was too painful. TV presenters, TV dialogues, and any music lyrics were all faulty. With each error he felt as if he were being struck by a speeding baseball. 

“She ain’t gonna”… That chorus injured his elbow, one of many wounds.

Eventually, he quit reading newspapers and magazines, for the misspellings in them made him want to rip his own eyes out. He got to the point when he avoided being in groups to spare himself from any bad grammar shrapnel in the conversations. Hence, he became a ghost for us. People wondered about him.

“Didn’t you know what happened?” Somebody at last had news about him.
“No, what happened?” It had to be something bad, because of the tone.
“Irregardless”. We all felt sorry to hear the word…

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