Wise with words: Beachbum

Using language correctly is an art that fewer and fewer people master. Blame it on technology, blame it on declining educational standards, blame it on the fact that society as a whole seems to be so focused on giving out “encouragement” and “praise” that it actually became a bad thing to point out to people when they are doing something wrongly. Seriously, things such as a “certificate of participation” or a “certificate of attendance” is absolutely worthless – it means nothing. Well, it means one thing: that you showed up somewhere on time. Probably. Possibly. Well, whoop-dee-doop. Next stop: a Nobèl prize?

But I digress. What I am trying to get at is that when you produce some words – written, printed, digital, painted, et cetera – it might pay off to verify the fruits of your labour. Put differently: when you have written something, then have a good look at what you have written and ask yourself what it exactly is that your words are saying. You might have a meaning or a message that you tried to put in words, but when a third party reads your words then are they really reading your message? Or are your words carrying an different message from the one you intended?

When I say to have a second look at your words, I do mean all of it. Thus: your words themselves as well as their colour, their style, their shape, their background, et cetera.

You will be surprised how many times it goes wrong.

Take this example. There is this man who owns a boat. Not a huge boat, but a dingy mainly intended to do a bit of fishing in the local waters. Everything is fine, until one day the man notices that the name of his boat is starting to fade away a bit: the paint is starting to dim away and such. So he decides to repaint the name on his boat.

So far so good, but I have two questions for you. The first question is: what is the name of this man’s boat? Shortly after I took this picture I had a little chat with this gentleman, so I can tell you that the answer to this question is “BeachBun“. A very fine name for a boat like this, indeed.

The second question, however, is: when you look at this boat, then what is the name you SEE? Taking today’s educational levels into account I’ll make it multiple choice:

A) Beachbum
B) Beachbun
C) Bechbum
D) Bechbun

Reading once, reading twice...

Reading once, reading twice…

Chocolate fish for the correct answer.

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