Words matter. Oh, yes they do!
Some years ago, I was in a big box retailer, the one that stocks packages of paper towels by the dozen and luggage-sized jars of mustard. It was Minneapolis, and the Twin Cities had recently welcomed a large population of Hmong, people whose own language was not written until the twentieth century. They came from a nomadic and much warmer environment than the Lutheran lake of ice that is Minnesota in winter. (Police were sometimes required to uncover a coatless boy asleep in the snow – hypothermia to blame.)
I can shop in a phonebox, so this first club experience was thrilling, even though nothing in the store would fit in my tiny apartment except the glee-club-sized packet of #2 pencils. Still, I pounded every aisle, marveled at the abundance, and became slightly terrified of the forklifts. There is no order in big box; ketchup vats sit beside curling irons. Baking soda shares a shelf with motor oil. As I came around an endcap of lentils and baby wipes, I observed a man who had wrestled 2 sample aerosol cans out of their giant packages. He was holding them, staring at them, deciding. In his left hand, whipped cream. In his right, insect repellant. I still wonder what he chose and the consequences of that decision.
Read something. Write something. Say all the words on the labels right out loud. Someone might be listening!