A while back I had this friend. She was married. She was recovering from surgery when I met her. While she was healing and off work she would visit my home to hang out.
One day as it grew time for her to leave she said
“I guess I have to head
with such negative emotion focused on the word home that I looked at her and remarked.
“You said that like a prisoner returning to jail after weekend furlough or something.”
How could home be so bad I wondered. It was not like she spent her time at my house complaining about her husband or at least not in a massive way that would have explained to me why she did not look forward to being at home.
In hind sight perhaps my friend had wanderlust or maybe she was trapped in a parent child marriage where one partner is over bearing and treats the other more like a child or a teenager than a partner. This causes the offended partner to act the part and seek to break away.
Being in the middle of our visit all this was not on my mind in that moment as my friend was mentally preparing to leave. I mentioned something like home is supposed to be a place you look forward to going.
She countered by telling me “Home is a four letter word.”
We were so good together. I countered her with something I thought was totally positive that was also a four letter word like cash to which she further countered that cash is great until you are short on it.
By this time one of us was probably laughing and neither of us ever laughed long alone.
Off we set to make a list of these seemingly innocent words that could take on a whole new connotation by situation and intonation.
We need a four letter word for family she said once. It took us a moment but someone said clan and we both groaned just thinking of all the lovely misery that family can create.
I don’t think proper nouns were forbidden on the list. The naughty words were as were plurals made of three letter words with the letter ‘s’ added.
The friendship is sadly no more but I carry the memories fondly.
From that time until now I have been known to quip
“____ is a four letter word.” When seemingly innocent or well meaning things go wrong or haywire.
Plan, for instance would fit quite nicely in the blank below and we all know “The best laid plans of mice and men are prone to go awry.”
Other common words could have the same effect: time, cook, bake, look, nice, the list can go on and on.