Words are a funny thing.
As we were working on the main feature this week, the definition of the word ''bimonthly'' came into question. According to Merriam-Webster, it can mean one of two things: it can mean every other week, or it can mean every two months.
In other words, it's such an ambiguous word that it should never be used.
I love learning about words. I've found that writing words is something I can do with moderate success, but speaking words - that can be another story.
Toastmasters, spotlighted in our main feature this week, is doing wonderful work in the community for people looking for help finding the right words. It is making those people more confident and more effective speakers during each of their meetings, which take place every other week. (It was this fact that sparked the ''bimonthly'' discussion, obviously.)
I don't have a fear of speaking in public, but I do know that there is a lot of work I could do to better myself in that department. I stutter and stammer, and I pause for lengthy periods of time between words as I try to think of just the right word to say next. I often can't come up with one, so to break the awkwardness I'll just spit out whatever dumb word is on the tip of my tongue - making myself sound much less intelligent than I'd like on many occasions.
There are also many times when I try to use 10-cent words in my daily speech, to make up for my inability to speak smoothly, only to have that also blow up in my face. Earlier this week, when someone mentioned taking down The Post-Journal's newsroom Christmas tree now that it late January, I said that I wanted to see it stand ''ad nauseam.'' No one commented on my error, which I immediately realized, but I still felt the need to correct myself about five seconds later: ''I mean, 'ad infinitum,' not 'ad nauseam.''' That probably just made it worse. But my mouth had moved faster than my mind, and I'd embarrassed myself.
I'm much better with the written word, and always have been, because it gives one the opportunity to pause and think about his next step. I can carefully craft these sentences and make myself seem very polished and sophisticated. I can't do that in real life, where my words are being critiqued on a moment-by-moment basis as the escape my lips.
Until I can make all of my communications in written form, I'm just going to have to keep working on it, though - ad infinitum. Err ... ad nauseam.