Some words evoke feelings, stir memories. Other words provoke strong reactions, like the word ‘math’. Most people react with terror, visions of x and y, scrambling to remember the value of pi and cringe remembering word problems about a man twice the age of his son this year…Very few people will smile or get excited about math and can recite the value of pi to six decimal places.
Semantics. Information is power. Information is currency. Words provide the value for both. They can be used as weapons, to persuade, to intimidate, to incite passion. Some words are subjective like ’beauty’, the “eye of the beholder” and all that. The definition isn’t concise. It can be ascribed to different things by different people dependent upon their personal (or impersonal) experience, frame of reference.
Kinky is another such word.
To a religious churchgoer in the Bible Belt, kinky might mean taking up pole dancing as an exercise regimen. To a casino waitress in Vegas, kinky might refer to the customer who orders a glass of whole milk. As a general rule, nothing is considered kinky in South Beach. Illegal perhaps, but not kinky.
‘Kinky’ is clearly an ‘eye of the beholder’ type of word that covers the entire spectrum of the Pantone color system.
Years ago I bought a birthday card for a friend. The cover consisted of the word ‘kinky’ above a drawing of an artichoke. Inside it went on about how the word meant different things to different people based on their experiences. It was humorous — for a variety of reasons — and perfect for him. Years later, he complained I no longer sent him kinky birthday cards. Well, I no longer worked in the city and kinky cards weren’t easy to find in the ‘burbs.
Occasionally someone would leave a newspaper in the break room at the office and for amusement we’d read the horoscopes for each of us. Mine was about an exciting evening or some such typical nonsense and they all wanted to know my evening plans.
Mowing the lawn if there was enough daylight once I got home, dinner, and catch an hour or two of TV — alone. Which is exactly what I did so that my weekend would be free for other pursuits.
The next day I received an email from one of them inquiring about the previous evening, confident that I had been involved in some secret tryst of frenzied sexual escapades ala 9 ½ Weeks or had danced naked on a tabletop at midnight.
So I replied something like this:
It started with inhaling the fragrant insect repellent liberally sprayed on my arms and legs to set the mood. Then the muscles got a complete workout, the arms, shoulders and back priming the motor and pulling the start cord, followed by the steady rhythm, back and forth across the yard, pushing the mower (oh yes! Yes!). The sweat began to glisten and the scent mingling with the repellent, the fragrant grass, the rich earth was intoxicating (more, more! Don’t stop!), grass and dirt sticking to my skin (oohhh…). Finally, panting and near exhaustion after cutting and trimming, I peeled the wet, sweat soaked clothes from my body and stood under the shower head, letting the water rain over me, clogging the drain with grass and dirt, leaving me peaceful, warm and tired.
When he finally responded it was to say that he suspected I could make mowing the lawn sound kinky.
Just one of my many talents. And pass the artichokes please.