Here’s the Thing…

Image Credit: welcome-to-monster-land.blogspot.com 

Now, the picture above is not what this post is about, but when I say “Thing”, it’s what I think of. Interestingly enough, when I googled for the image, googling for “thing” does NOT yield pictures of Thing Adams. Too far removed from the main stream I guess.

Further note: do not search for “thing” on google without “safe search” set to at least “moderate”. Just trust me on this…

Anyway, have you ever noticed people on TV (Adams Family aside) don’t have any problem coming up with the words they’re saying as they’re saying them, like so many people do? I would not likely be a very successful radio personality, because as I’m telling stories or talking about various subjects, I pause and stumble as I reach for the words… Inevitably, I use “thing” in reference to many items with which I’m very familiar. Thus, in an effort to improve my diction I’ve decided to curb my usage.

Such a versatile word… Perhaps too much so for its own good… How many times have you heard (or said) “I need that thing…” or “Can you grab the uh…. thing…” We’ve gotten so comfortable with not being able to readily call up the correct word, that almost any object can become a “thing”.

It goes beyond the tangible now too, it’s not just for items… People say “Oh, that? Yeah, that’s his thing.” or “The thing is…” Of these phrases, the “things” aren’t really even things… they’re habits or subjects or issues…

According to google, the definitions of “thing” are:

  • a special situation; “this thing has got to end”; “it is a remarkable thing”
  • an action; “how could you do such a thing?”
  • a special abstraction; “a thing of the spirit”; “things of the heart”
  • an artifact; “how does this thing work?”
  • an event; “a funny thing happened on the way to the…”
  • matter: a vaguely specified concern; “several matters to attend to”; “it is none of your affair”; “things are going well”
  • a statement regarded as an object; “to say the same thing in other terms”; “how can you say such a thing?”
  • an entity that is not named specifically; “I couldn’t tell what the thing was”
  • any attribute or quality considered as having its own existence; “the thing I like about her is …”
  • a special objective; “the thing is to stay in bounds”
  • a persistent illogical feeling of desire or aversion; “he has a thing about seafood”; “she has a thing about him”
  • a separate and self-contained entity

Is it really necessary to have a word like this? I’m not convinced… Although, I have had a hell of a time trying not to use it.

My house is full of little objects (and yes, I wrote “things” and changed it), bits and pieces of toys and games and such that, unless you’re familiar with, it cannot be identified… except as a “thing”… I’ve been lenient on myself in this situation because to explain the purpose of such a thing would be long winded and unnecessary. It’s really just a “thing”.  But when the object is an every day thi… ah, item… such as a coffee mug, I’ve actually been getting frustrated with myself for saying “thing”.

I’d like you, gentle reader, to pay attention to how many familiar objects, the names of which are well known, that you or your associates call a “thing”. Please comment and share your stories, I could use the support. Not an easy th… undertaking.

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