Jonathan Swift, In Which Gulliver is a Prophet

In Lagado: “We next went to the school of languages, where three professors sat in consultation upon improving that of their own country.

The first project was to shorten discourse by cutting polysyllables into one, and leaving out verbs and participles, because in reality all things imaginable are but nouns.

The other project was a scheme for entirely abolishing all words whatsoever; and this was urged as a great advantage in point of health as well as brevity.  For it is plain that every word we speak is in some degree a diminution of our lungs by corrosion, and consequently contributes to the shortening of our lives.  An expedient was therefore offered, that since words are only names for things, it would be more convenient for all men to carry about them such things as were necessary to express the particular business they are to discourse on.”

And how did Gulliver aka Swift know that more than two-hundred years later, I would be packing useless words on my back, hauling them about with me to unpack here and there for conversation pieces–or stories.  My back aches with words, or the lack of them.  It’s time to unpack.  The New Year calls for it.

I will therefore unpack my words for a few days, live up the New Year with my beautiful family–drink wine and listen to accordions.  I will make no plans or promises, except I will pray and give my load of bagged words over to God.


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