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Passion is no ordinary word

I was just buzzing through the living room and caught a snippet of a television commercial about candy. "Our chocolatiers have a passion for—"

Stop. Spare me. If I had ten dollars for every time I heard somebody abuse the meaning of "passion," I'd be writing this from a private beach on Maui.

The word "enthusiasm" doesn't seem to work anymore. People don't get "excited" about things, or, perish the thought, merely show an "interest" in something. They no longer have hobbies. After all, this is the world of all hyperbole, all the time; the world of I-can-top-that; the world where every play in every athletic event is great, tremendous, incredible. So people anymore don't like to watch college football; they have a passion for it. They don't like riding motorcycles; they have a passion for motorcycling. They have a passion for their dogs. They have a passion for gardening. Or for raising their own earthworms.

The overuse of the word seems to have kicked the word's real meaning to the curb on the other side of the street. What is passion? It's something that's all-consuming. Your life revolves around it. It compels you to act. You're always thinking about it.

Unless the chocolatiers are dousing their homes with a railroad tank car full of Hershey's syrup, they don't have a passion for chocolate. A passion for watching football on television? Think of it: being "passionate" about an activity that involves sitting in a chair, drinking beer and eating snack foods ("I'm passionate about potato chips."). A passion for gardening? Yeah, if the gardener sleeps on a dirt mattress.

I understand our language is organic. It lives. It changes. That's inevitable. Look at the word "sucks," for example. Once it was crude, coarse. Now it gets tossed around like pocket change. Even the once-powerful F-sharp has lost much of its impact from being thrown too often into the spotlight. But has a good synonym for "passion" surfaced? It's probably out there somewhere. Fortunately, I have a passion for words and will take the time to find it.

And please, don't get me started on how the word "said" has been replaced with "like," as in, "He's, like, c'mon back to my dorm room for some chocolate, baby, and I'm, like, sorry I can't because I've got a passion for Scrabble."

I wish I had more time to expand on this theme, but I don't. I've got to head back into the TV room. I have to indulge my passion for the show "Homicide Hunter."


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 6th, 2012 01:45 am (UTC)
I like how every last product out there has technology in it. My favorite — garbage bags.
Dec. 6th, 2012 02:08 am (UTC)
It used to be science; now, it's advertising.
Dec. 6th, 2012 10:23 pm (UTC)
Neosporin also contains technology.
Dec. 6th, 2012 10:45 pm (UTC)
I hope there are technologically advanced bandages to use with it.
Dec. 6th, 2012 02:15 am (UTC)
Dec. 6th, 2012 02:56 am (UTC)
I'm innocent of the crime of passion, but I hear "like" as an attributive verb so much that it's creeping into my vocabulary.
Dec. 6th, 2012 03:14 am (UTC)
May I add "dining experience" and "cooked to perfection."
Dec. 6th, 2012 04:11 am (UTC)
I'm afraid you've started something that could get out of hand.

How about "weather event," or, better yet, a "rain event" or a "snow event" or ...
Dec. 6th, 2012 04:15 am (UTC)
"We're monitoring the situation."
Dec. 6th, 2012 04:32 am (UTC)
No fair. It's 11:30 here. Your brain is three hours fresher than mine. I just took my nightly meds—which I use only as directed. I will seek immediate medical attention if I suffer from blurry vision, disorientation, anxiety, loss of hearing or difficulty swallowing, and I will seek a doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but severe side effects occur: paralysis, coma or death.
Dec. 6th, 2012 04:41 am (UTC)
Yeah, well, I've been drinking cheap California champagne while doing my Christmas cards. I think I was pretty effusive and unreasonably sappy on some of them, a la Bridget Jones.

Unfortunately, they're already stamped. Damn the torpedoes.
Dec. 6th, 2012 02:11 pm (UTC)
a railroad tank car full of Hershey's syrup

That is quite a visual.

Passion, passion, passion - I am apologetically guilty. :)
This post and the comment threads made me giggle. Great way to start the day.
Dec. 6th, 2012 09:12 pm (UTC)
Any day I can inject mirth into somebody's life is a good day.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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• Journal title and subtitle: Ian Hunter, “Man Overboard”


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