Tom Taylor: Words do mean things, so listen carefully


In this ever litigious society, people have to be all too careful in what is said, read, and embedded in any dealings with other human beings.

Tom Taylor.

Words do mean things and words do mean things.

There used to be a time when context clues and reading comprehension used to be able to be used to distinguish the intent of the communication. Now, with emojis, abbreviations and the caps lock button, people have strayed from the use of context to clue us in on other’s meaningful intent.   

I have been alive long enough and interacted with quite a few people to understand that it is human nature to see and hear what we want to hear, whether it is listening to every other word from our spouse or looking for devious intent on the part of our duly elected representatives.

Even that statement will direct some ire toward my tome, but I know that if we would just take a moment to read or listen to what is actually written or said instead of relying on a transcript or hearsay from a semi-reliable source, this world would be better off.

It is not so difficult, and it really does not take much longer, but does require a certain level of self policing — sometimes the actual meaning of something will mean our side has misunderstood the other.

I look forward to the day, when I can yell “FIRE” in a crowded movie theater, and not cause panic, because those listening use context clues to realize there is no need to trample their fellow moviegoers — no sign of flames, no acrid smell of smoke, no sense of heat — no sign of danger, but a foolish statement made to garner attention. 

Tom Taylor is a Wicomico County resident.