There are a lot of
nisms in vogue which must seem execrable to any discerning mind with an educated respect for language. Calling everything from your girlfriend to your last holiday to your ice-cream ‘great’ or ‘awesome’ is among them. Of late, ‘enjoy’ and ‘excited’ have entered my yuck-list. America
While I yield to none in my appetite for enjoyment, and I entirely agree that being occasionally excited is a very good thing, because it keeps you healthy in body and young in mind, you can have too much of a good thing. These days the papers and television and roadside billboards are offering you ‘exciting’ offers on everything from shaving blades to apartments – and I notice with dismay that on the official Google blog that I follow, they seem to be ‘excited’ every day about some trifling new innovation they have launched. They may be gifted in everything from math to marketing, but there is no doubt whatever that they are linguistically challenged! Firstly, no healthy-minded person either needs or wants to be excited all the time: it would be such a bore. Secondly, we don’t really want people we trust with our money and lives and much else with to be excited (and therefore absent-minded and careless) when they are at work, do we? – Just think of your doctor, banker, your child’s teacher or the traffic policeman. And thirdly, staying excited for too long just isn’t possible without damaging your nervous system: a scientist trying to prove a theory or a writer penning a book might take
hs or years, and while one needs true passion if one has to do such arduous things, one cannot stay continuously ‘excited’ for all that time without falling sick or going out of one’s mind! mont
As for enjoyment, if some of us are still capable of recalling that the word originally meant feeling joy, one can only weep to see how vulgarly and meaninglessly it is bandied around by everyone everywhere nowadays. More and more it seems that one can only enjoy things (cars, mobiles, hairdos, jewellery, food, whatever) rather than feelings, and even worse, one cannot even enjoy things any more, but only the act of buying them! So my wardrobe bursts with clothes I hardly wear, I rarely listen to anything on the obscenely expensive music system, and I simply cannot understand people who claim to be able to enjoy a lot of things for which they have spent only trifling amounts or none at all – reading books, painting pictures, singing songs, playing games with friends on the field, helping people to do things that they cannot do very well by themselves, watching birds and butterflies, flowers and sunsets and chortling children; making or repairing things of household use with their own hands, exercising, taking long walks and lazing on the grass on balmy winter afternoons, having good conversations, falling asleep after a hard day… the list is endless. What I see instead is that the less people find true enjoyment the more frantic they become to find it, and the more they are convinced that all they need for it is to make and squander even more money… so cheap have these words become that they have to assure you that they are really excited, they truly enjoyed themselves, because excited and enjoyed have become so debased by mindless overuse that they have ceased to mean anything by themselves at all.
There are, I feel more and more often, far more poor people in this world – poor in the sense of lost and unhappy – than there have been ever before. And they are overwhelmingly to be found among the moneyed classes, the only people simultaneously stupid, lazy and solvent enough for advertisers to have brainwashed them into believing that nirvana can be found in the shopping mall!
(I was prompted to write this after reflecting on Rashmi’s comment on my last post, where she mused upon how she found simple and hard-up rural folks to be far happier than their
ban ‘superiors’. Thanks, Rashmi, for stirring my grey cells). ur