Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's Amazing, Grace

Isn’t it amazing how so many of us use the word amazing for so many tidbits of ordinary trivia? Awesome, too.

Have you noticed what a high usage spike those words have taken the past few years? Amazing and Awesome. At least that’s the way I see it. I mean, people use amazing and awesome for all kinds of lazy linguistic flotsam and jetsam. I think the Internet has a lot to do with it.

But really, honest, there are only five things that are Amazing or Awesome. Note: only five.

  1. Jesus was willing to sacrifice himself for you and me. That’s both Amazing and Awesome
  2. The birth of a baby. One minute you can hardly fathom the child. The next minute you love her/him like you’ve known her/him forever. In just a few minutes you can’t remember when that baby wasn’t there. How can that be? It’s Awesome and Amazing, too.
  3. A busy gazillion-ton aircraft carrier can float serenely in the ocean, while a weightless pebble will fall immediately to the bottom of the sea. Incredible!
  4. Freedom is a gift, earned by blood all over the world.
  5. In 1969, men landed on the moon and the Amazin' Mets won the World Series. Choose your favorite.
  • So stop telling me that you just dropped your amazing kids off at school. Your kids are no more amazing than mine—and believe me: my kids are pretty awesome.
  • Your amazing husband is about equal to the rest of us, which probably means all husbands are amazing. (How does your husband define you, by the way?)
  • "Our home fellowship group is amazing!" But it’s never noted in the newspaper; not even in the monthly church magazine.
  • And have you heard? "The city finally installed an amazing new stop sign down at the corner."
  • And I like this: "We've already been dating for 26 awesome hours. He's so amazing."
  • “Our team had an amazing meeting yesterday afternoon.”
  • “Here’s an amazing new BBQ recipe.”
  • “We’re letting church out early so you won’t miss our amazing “Saints / Rams / Bills / Cardinals / Cowboys / Jags / Vikings / Raiders…” Again, pick your favorite.
Oh wait: here’s something amazing. #6. Out there on the freeway, they’re updating it. Did you notice? They’re widening it to six lanes (but only one lane is available) and rebuilding new overpasses for the next five miles. Of course, we don’t see! We’re too busy texting on our cell phones—at 60-something miles an hour (tsk).

Flagmen and women stand only inches from whizzing traffic (and exhaust) and endure the wrath and fingers of inconvenienced drivers. Dump trucks and cement trucks load and unload their loads. Backhoes hoe, earthmovers move the earth, graders level things, Bobcats scamper around, cranes lift and lower, engineers wander around with clipboards, steel workers cut, weld and place rebar, laborers sweat for you and me, concrete barriers move around in the dark of night, orange cones—I keep saying I should have invested in orange cones!

Somehow the old overpasses get removed and new ones go up, all smooth and wide. Somehow new lanes get created despite irritated, ornery multi-tasking drivers. Not very many workers get run over by us. Emergency vehicles somehow get through it all on their way to an emergency somewhere else.

And then one magical morning about five years later we wake up and "Look! The freeway’s finished! Finally! It took 'em long enough!" The overpasses are architecturally sound and beautiful. The orange cones disappeared. New white stripes define the new permanent lanes—and we fly down that shiny new freeway texting, eating bagels, drinking coffee and screaming at the kids. How nice.

That’s amazing! But no one says so.

Oh, wait, I left something off our list.
#7.  Chocolate with friends.
#8.  People and their pets.
#9.  Our English language ebbs and flows, eh?

Add something yourself.


kenju said...

I never use the newly coined word "awesome" and I hate to hear it or see it in print. Rather, I use "awe-inspiring" - the original word for that quality. I am guilty of using amazing too often, and I admit to being a sheep in that regard - following others trends.

DBFrank said...

I am in awe of your amazing post ;)

Monique said...

Where is #9 on your list? It must be so amazing and awesome that it is invisible to all but the most elite amazing and awesome people. The rest of us are clearly not worthy of such wisdom. ;)

Paul Nichols said...

Monique, you're such a good editor. My money is well-spent. Thanks. I fixed it.

Stephanie said...

Just say "wicked awesome" four times fast in a Boston accent. Unless you are from boston, it tends to inspire a few giggles, however much of an abuse to language it may be.

Cliff said...

This was amazing.

Cliff said...

Good job and so well written. Gooder than I could of did.
Paul, thanks for your comment about the picture.
As a matter of fact that man will be able to write a book on good fathering when he's done. It's a good thing that he's good at what he does because he has three of those little boys who idolize him.

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