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Dr. Cheryl Pappas Headshot

One Awesome-free Day in America

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Oh, for the days when words were spoken.

Instead, we are looking at the demise of real talk, and it ain't pretty.

I realize I have the annoying practice of questioning the emptiness of verbal communication wherever I hear it.

Yesterday at the Apple store, the technical adviser introduced himself as being "actually" there to help.

I replied that he sounded incredulous/surprised that he was there to help.

He looked through me in response and I let it drop.

Obviously I am not up for Favorite Person of the Year, and haven't been for at least one decade.

Conspiracy theories aside, I believe that the media communication direction led by talking heads who would not have passed English in my own high school yet now host talk shows, loudly cheer leads a willing public to use less and less of our dying vocabulary.

Thus, we say as little as possible to one another by a "sort of" (the uber-popular speech softener) social media permission for omission.

Perhaps the Academy Awards are not the speech occasions to study, but I invite you to count the OMGs, the "awesomes," the number of times "actually" is inserted in a straight-lined statement.

Has "actually" been unearthed to further disappear the power of communication, I constantly wonder.

As in, "I am actually from Michigan."

By inserting without emphasis, the word "actually," am I assuming that you would find this truth of my birth place incredible?

I really can't say how many "actuallys" I hear each day. I can't count that high.

The point is, I am concerned that as vocabulary disappears in American communication, we are losing vital connection to one another. In real words, we are saying nothing.

Arianna Huffington's recent piece on social media and how Twitter is used, angles in this direction, only focused on the way people choose to use social media, such as following non-news on Twitter.

She discusses media commentary about the Republican party's political debates as being "devoid of substance" but there is "little effort" to "help start a more substantial debate."

I believe the missing "efforts" for substance are not deemed necessary in this time of diminishing truth and communication. For every person who notices the robotic clichés and empty sound bites of candidates in those political debates, it does not ring a tinkle of a bell for the remaining hundreds of thousands who don't notice at all.

When your own life has been emptied of bothersome real communication, you will never find the blank nothingness of debate presentations annoying.

Of course, psychologically, the wild popularity of Twitter as a main dish of abbreviation communication makes sound and sad sense.

Perhaps the truth is that most people have finally found their perfect social intimacy lifestyle: the disconnection that exactly fits.

The word "exactly" is also in great favor as an endpoint to a discussion point.
As in, "You are exactly right."

Is anything we think about ever "exactly right"?

Tricky little bonding strategy, but unfortunately signally the desire for a quick dash away from connection.

Maybe historically there have always been more people who would prefer to duck away from truth in speaking with others.

The secrets of one's life are liable to spill when we are in person, if there be anyone listening.
That's an increasingly big "if."

Listening is another lost art and a topic for not just another day, but a weekly symposium.

In the meantime, it might be fun to take a day in the world of your life and tally up the "awesomes" and "actuallys" in and around you.

What you will be hearing is the absence of connection.

Should you be slightly alarmed at this reality, your response may actually be in the neighborhood of, "exactly right."