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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

March 2015



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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

Missing Words

Did you ever read a sentence that sounded completely reasonable, but made absolutely no sense? Then you realize there is one missing word that changes everything? It happens a lot in our “cut and paste” editing world and may be common enough that we fill in the blanks without even seeing the error. But that’s not the kind of missing word I’m thinking of.

I wrote a poem years ago that I remember as clever and funny and really spot on as to how I feel about writing. But I haven’t been able to find it in any of my files of ancient writings. The words have gone missing and I’m unable to recreate them. In college, a scathing article about “damn hippies” appeared in a local newspaper and I wrote a parody response to it that was so sharp that the owner of the newspaper printed the parody on the front page of the paper with an apology for his original article. I really wish I could find a copy of that article, but it’s missing.

And every once in a while (okay, more often lately than I care to admit) I will start a sentence and know that there is a perfectly good word for what I want to say that is almost on the tip of my tongue, but I can in no way call it to mind. All the words that I think of remind me that they are not the word that I wanted. They’ve got a name for that, I think.

What I’m trying to figure out is where all the missing words go. Is there some big lost and found box in the elementary school office for missing words? Does the FBI have a Department of Missing Words? Is there some way to microchip your words so that they can be tracked when they’re missing?

And how do you identify them when you find them.

Yes officer, that’s my word. I can spell it. It was written in black ink on the back of a napkin at Denny’s. It’s been missing for two weeks now. I’d nearly given up hope. Yes sir. I’ll keep better track of it from now on. I’ll only let it off-leash in a fenced area. I’ve learned my lesson. I’m so…. you know… it’s like being happy about someone doing something for you and you want to thank them and you say I’m so…. It’s the state of being that makes you want to give thanks. You say you’re full of something.

Officer, I’m afraid I’ve lost another word.

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That happens to me all the time. Especially with some of the medications I'm on. I have a hard time expressing adequately what I'm thinking. It's extremely frustrating.