Thursday, July 3, 2008

Circuit Breaker

"Time will eventually lead to irreparable circuit failure."
~Data, Star Trek The Next Generation

Every now and then someone will raise the question, "Which sense would you most hate to lose?" It's always a toss up... vision vs. hearing. To not see another sunset, or the smile on a child's face, or watch snow dancing down to earth. Unthinkable. But then again, to not hear that perfect musical strain that makes my pulse race, or the birds chattering the day awake, or laughter. Unimaginable. Life would go on, sure. Adapt or die. But...

After talking with Scott yesterday afternoon, I realized that there's a seventh sense that I would most hate to lose. The ability to communicate in words. Yes, non-verbal communication can be highly efficient, but for me, words are meat. Words are building blocks to skyscrapers, the chemical breakdown of the perfect apple pie, the vision in the sunset, the voice in the quiet. It would, probably literally, make me crazy to not be able to communicate in words, to have the circuit tripped that makes me lose that gift. I can't imagine Scott's frustration at having a perfect thought and not being able to form the sentence that conveys it. Agonizing. Yes, it's all coming back, but slowly.

It's all made me acutely aware of what a treasure this is - this capacity I have to write, my somewhat limited gift of gab, the pool of vocabulary I go swimmin' in. I'm not certain I could cope should the day ever comes when my ability to articulate feeling is lost, gone forever. So, I rededicate myself to my craft. Whether these words get read or not, whether they change the flow of the tides or not, no matter. They are my life's blood.

"County library? Reference desk, please. Hello? Yes, I need a word definition. Well, that's the problem. I don't know how to spell it and I'm not allowed to say it. Could you just rattle off all the swear words you know and I'll stop you when...Hello?"
~Bill Waterson, Calvin & Hobbes

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