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October 24, 2014 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Don’t Take the Runt.

Boy in funny hat. 1923 Mickey Daniels/ Dogs of War film/Hal Roach for Pathe/US PD:

Cute and clever. All that counts. (1923 Mickey Daniels/US PD:

It’s all talk  – that adoration of perfection. No one really seems to desire it.

Don’t show any clue. Look sullen and out of focus, Word. You’ll have a better chance.

Don’t deny it.

Like that kid in the class that always knows the answer: wildly waving arms. Overlooked. Repeatedly. Until defeated.

Is that the goal? “Put you in your place smarty pants.”

I know. Asking questions is a classroom behavior management technique to keep students on task  and maybe provides feedback of information delivery to a rare perceptive teacher.

But you know how it seems to that kid desperately waving – hoping. Confused.

Isn’t whole point of asking to find the answer that fits perfectly?

It’s all talk. So, words fare even worse.

Silent. Defenseless. Words can only wished to be picked.

To make their families proud.

To settle in the right spot where they shine to perfection.

Cinderella sitting on hearth. 1889.Cinderella / Blue Fairy Book. J.Hood,illustrator/USPD:

Cinderella searched for words. Where was her fella?(1889.Blue Fairy Book/J.Hood,illustr. /

Perfect doesn’t always get picked.

Like the pretty high school girl who sits home alone because the boys are too intimidated to approach. So she sits. Hoping.

Words, by nature, are not going to be assertive.

No protesting or rioting demand their place.

Confident in their identity, they wait to be noticed.

Naive that people will select the best tool for the job.

No permissions granted. All rights reserved. Copyrighted.

Twins separated at earth. ©

Reality is cruel.

That one is too hard to spell.

This one? Too old.

Another one avoided because someone might get hurt feelings.

Or too fancy.

Too snooty. Better pick the one more relevant to the community.

Oh, this meaning is close enough.

Need to turn message in this direction.

Sounds smart. No one will really check it.

Too many letters. Won’t fit the  headline space. Find a shorter one.

Meanings amputated by society. By the very ones who should champion the “perfect” word. 

Somehow shoes manage to get more careful selection than words.

(Know they have soles, but still, they are simply heels.)

In an era when dogs and ghost writers of shallow celebrities get publisher picked before words finely crafted, Words must feel crushed. Shelved. Set aside.

all rights reserved, no permissions granted. copyrighted

Sky dancers offer a free performance ©

Champions of thought, words are not leaving the field.

Always the rebels. Seeking out the seekers.

Whispering about treasures, glories, knowledge, and understanding.

Minions will be initiated and indoctrinated.

The battle has been fought before.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but only words can explain why.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

no permissions granted all rights reserved. copyrighted

Building storms warn the little island on the afternoon before the trees were all cut, the deer moved, and the bunnies fled. ©



  1. katecrimmins / Oct 24 2014 1:21 pm

    As the BeeGees said, Words are all we have….


  2. Paul / Oct 24 2014 1:38 pm

    Cool post Phil. I’ve given some thought over the years as to why perfection is not acceptable and I think it has to do with our definition of perfection. Our perception is limited and when we release our perfect creations into the wild, they get chewed up by predators. Perhaps it would be better to include the predators in our definition of perfection. A more real definition. This no doubt applies to the use of words as well. I’ve collected numerous anecdotes over the years. For example, Isreal was engaging in a wildlife repopulation initiative some time ago. Many of the original wild animals now only existed in zoos and they wanted them back out in the wild. They instituted a breeding program to make genetically “solid” animals and treated them with kindness and excellent care as they raised them for the release. In fact they gave the animals a “perfect” environment in captivity. As soon as the animals were released, they were eaten by predators. The Israelis tried again, and this time they would sneak into the cages at random times at night and chase and beat the animals with brooms or other non-damaging objects. This caused the animals to remain aware during sleep. When they were realeased, this time they flourished. Non-perfect treatment saved their lives.

    And so it is with words as well. In business a plan is only considered “good” if it survives being exposed to reality. Therein lies perfection – not in our minds. Words are also like that too. Which, to my mind, is why a lot of religious scriptures use parables and stories to create situations that deliver the vaue or information. It seems like a round about way to communicate and yet it is necessary as the words themselves are not up to the task. This is likely because we developed our words and language and our understanding of our world is incomplete. Elegance is more often found in action than in words.

    Cool post Phil. Enjoyed it a lot.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 24 2014 7:09 pm

      Actions can speak as louder than word..all those pages clumped one on top of the other does tend to muffle voices.
      Best laid plans with the animal re-population…and lack of common sense. I think the environmentalists have gotten better. The same thing happened with the Houston zoo’s efforts with the Attwater Prairie Chicken (which is really a grouse)
      When rescue efforts first started, they raised the chicks at the zoo then brought them down to NASA grounds and let them loose…only to have a couple of hawks take them out…coyote got the rest. The pampered chicks had no survival instincts. Now they have “halfway houses/pens”, then once used to the outdoors, they release them gradually: a few hours during the day and up at night…it seems to be working better and there are a couple of release sites.
      Humans, being flawed and odd creatures, might not recognize perfection when they see it? So many cultures’ art/crafts/architecture always have a small intentional imperfection built into their final products…sure makes it easier if you aren’t expected to be perfect? Whew. Thanks for puzzling along


  3. Carrie Rubin / Oct 24 2014 1:47 pm

    Words are so powerful and yet we most often take them for granted, not stopping to think a bit before we toss them out. This has grown worse with the Internet. As for raising a hand in class, I think you know I was never willingly that child. 😉


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 24 2014 6:52 pm

      I love words: their histories/language families mirror human history, their meanings and how those change over years, their sounds, their shapes, their games. Words reflect the ones who created them. Words themselves are cool. So misused now – how sad they must be
      Word carelessness is really getting to me. Media/print sources/interviews/news using the wrong word. Seriously – they want to get the message across, so maybe pick the word that actually precisely fit the usage desired? (You’ve probably heard me shriek at the TV….sounds sort of like when you observe carelessness around one of your work sites….)
      Were you a “please let me be invisible” student. I waved a lot…until they scowled and said nobody likes someone who actually read the assignment…(and girls can’t be smart, stupid.). Oh, school is such a joy.
      Thanks for lettering up a comment

      Liked by 1 person

      • Carrie Rubin / Oct 24 2014 6:55 pm

        Yes, I wanted to be invisible in school. It wasn’t until I got my master’s in public health a few years ago that I felt more comfortable speaking up. I didn’t have much of a choice. As one of the few docs in the group, they always called on me. Sigh.


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 24 2014 7:14 pm

          After about 4th grade I was silent. Seems to have been what was expected. Head down and quiet. Grad school was wonderful – intelligent conversation about art/civilizations/history and how that affected everything. But once on the job, it seems better to keep what you know quiet – or you do get tapped for presentations and trainings far too much. Give someone else a turn! Thanks for fading into the background with me

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Ally Bean / Oct 24 2014 2:48 pm

    “In an era when dogs and ghost writers of shallow celebrities get publisher picked before words finely crafted, Words must feel crushed. Shelved. Set aside.”

    Yep. Makes me sad. On the other hand your photos make me happy. Good thoughts and images here. Thanks.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 24 2014 6:55 pm

      Never fear, words are resilient! They bide their time, then boldly speak. Images and words: partners or competitors? Which one holds the keys and leashes? Glad you decided to gaze into the letter jumble


  5. dogear6 / Oct 24 2014 6:13 pm

    That last sentence was perfect! Which is exactly why my blog posts have both photos and written despite comments from several people (who mean well, but don’t get it) that my photos are the only thing they come for.


    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 24 2014 7:17 pm

      Some of us see images and words working in tandem – it’s a marriage that combined creates a whole new thing. I love the way to merge the two. It does take time and thought. Thanks for lettering up a comment


  6. jannatwrites / Oct 25 2014 7:58 am

    I happen to like words – you are right; they are so important. I feel like we are losing are appetite for words, both in quantity and size. As for the celebrities/ghost writers selling by name alone… I think we should be more discerning about what our eyes ingest 🙂


  7. ScienceMeander / Oct 25 2014 5:58 pm

    Your link to “old” etymology took me to Uralic languages where I found: “Hungarian: Eleven hal úszik a víz alatt.” Eleven and twelve are such significant and fascinating oddities! Eleven may have meant alive?


  8. EllaDee / Oct 27 2014 12:52 am

    Food, words… it feels like they’re under pressure to dumb down. It’s no longer about time and input and richness of society where both are chewed over and richness savoured. Even caveman society had standards. Now it’s about hurry hurry, get the message across, a one way transaction. No correspondence entered into other than monetary exchange!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 27 2014 3:02 pm

      Life at warp speed – assisted by technology and machines that were once time-saving tools, and conveniences but now driving the chariots. They always say, people must make choices or choices will be made for them. Too late? Thanks for picking and choosing wisely


  9. reneejohnsonwrites / Oct 27 2014 1:21 am

    Love those sky shots. No words necessary.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 27 2014 3:04 pm

      Big sky seems say so much. Speaks a whole different language. Thanks for translating a comment


  10. Kourtney Heintz / Oct 28 2014 10:36 pm

    I think images on tv and movies are easier to veg out but when I’m reading a story the world I see in my mind is so much cooler than anything on tv. Love Words!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 28 2014 10:44 pm

      There is a time and place for both – definitely agree to that. I’ve stockpiled some books for reading soon. Dark, cold and wet means soup, fireplace and books! Thanks for lettering up a comment


  11. jmmcdowell / Oct 30 2014 10:49 pm

    A line from an ’80s song crossed my mind as I was reading: “What are words for, when no one listens anymore.” I think that’s only gotten worse with our instant communications and the ease of posting images on the web over words that require time to be read and absorbed. I think English is heading toward the old Dick and Jane levels of vocabulary….


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 30 2014 11:51 pm

      Now I have to go find that song. The rapid fire reporting and posting is taking a toll on words. The emphasis is getting up fast and first instead of precise and carefully chosen. And the huge amount of constant information lesses the importance of getting it perfect – short attention spans and every second something new jumps in front of the reader, so the last one doesn’t matter any more. An interesting change. It is already causing changes in how we read and how the brain functions. What’s the next stage? Hang on and we’ll see. Thanks for selecting the perfect comment to leave.


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