With my son’s fifth birthday a mere five months away, he is frantically putting together his wish list of presents. For days, I’ve heard, “Please, I want a LEGO Batmobile. Please, I really want a LEGO Batmobile. Mom, I really, really want a LEGO Batmobile,” like a refrain, or an uninspired Greek chorus.
It doesn’t take long for the voice of my sixth grade English teacher to kick in, ripe with certitude and rules: “No repetition. In the English language, we have an abundance of wonderful words. Let’s use them.” We were required to buy and bring to class a thesaurus, and every essay, every memoir, every argumentative piece had to overflow with new and unique words. This was how we earned an A. Continue reading