I love words. I especially enjoy hearing how we use words – most of the time. I must admit that sometimes I am annoyed by things people say, but I usually find them amusing. Sometimes we use the wrong words, or like Barney Fife used to do, we mispronounce words. Sometimes we contradict ourselves or use an oxymoron.

Here are some examples of what I’m talking about. When someone tells me they learned something they didn’t know, I’m tempting to ask, “Oh, can you learn something that you already knew?” Don’t you love it when someone tells us, we should never say never? Well, I guess an exception to that rule is when you’re telling someone to never say never. Maybe we should never tell someone they should never say never. Have you ever asked someone if you could ask a question? You just did. Have you ever said, “I thought to myself?” May I ask you a question? (See what I did there?) To whom else can we think?

Here are a few of funny things others have said. (This is not an endorsement or promotion of any of these people.) Clara Barton said, “I distinctly remember forgetting that.” Edith Konecky said, “I have a terrible memory. I never forget a thing.” Andy Warhol said, “I am a deeply superficial person.” Anthony Haden-Guest said, “Of course I can keep secrets. It’s the people I tell them to that can’t keep them.” Dolly Parton said, “You would be surprised at how much it cost to look this cheap.” Arthur “Bugs” Baer said, “She used to diet on any kind of food she could lay her hands on.” Irene Peter said, “Always be sincere, even when you don’t mean it.” Josh Billings said, “Live within your income, even if you have to borrow money to do so.” Yogi Berri was a master at these kinds of sayings, but he once said, “I never said most of the things I said.” Yogi was said to have said, “Why don’t you pair them up in threes?” Mark Twain had quite a few good ones too. He said, “It usually takes me about three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.” I’ve heard that both he and Oscar Wilde said, “I can resist anything, except temptation.”

Isaac B. Singer said, “We must believe in free will. We have no choice.” Sometimes, and with certain things, we don’t have a choice, but in this life God does give us a free will. Adam and Eve had a choice. He allows us to make choices. We have the ability to choose the words we use. Sometimes we say things that make about as much sense as some of the sayings I have quoted. Our words can bring joy. They can inspire, uplift, encourage, and unite, but sometimes we say things that are mean, hurtful, and spiteful. Sometimes our words cause division. We should all choose our words carefully. Wise Solomon said, “Be not rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God.”

— Bill King is a native of Rainsville, where he and his wife graduated from Plainview High School. King is a director of missions in Opelika, a writer, musician and author. His column appears in the Times-Journal Thursdays edition. Visit brobillybob.com for more information.

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