Words don’t always work

I love words. Love them.

Since I was about 5 years old and discovered I was no good at math, I’ve relished any chance to move words around; to make them sound good together and ensure they convey the precise tone and sentiment I’m seeking.

That said, there are some serious insufficiencies in the English language.

In many instances, we need some better, stronger, more descriptive or increasingly specific words and phrases.

For example, the word “love” is simply inadequate in many instances.

There’s a superlative level, a higher degree, of love. 

I’m sorry, but the word we use to describe our enthusiasm for a new sweater should not be the same one we use to describe our attachment to and connection with a child, parent, spouse or soulmate.

And speaking of love, my parents, Mary Ann and Bob Bolen, arrive on the island today (Thursday, Feb. 6) following a week-long road trip from the South Jersey Shore. 

I absolutely love, cherish and adore my parents beyond belief, but again, “love” seems insufficient.

It’s the same with “thanks,” “gratitude” and “appreciation.”

I appreciate the person who watered our plants while we were away, but shouldn’t there be a stronger word to thank our parents for believing in us and providing us with every tool we’d ever need to be happy in life? 

And finally, this one may tick off some folks, but I’m going to put it out there. 

Those with Ph.Ds are NOT doctors. Newspapers don’t use the title “Dr.” to describe people with a doctorate. 

Perhaps their academic achievements deserve acknowledgment in certain relevant circles, but maybe you don’t need to insist that everyone know and acknowledge your education level.  Don’t you get tired of introducing yourself as “Dr. So and So,” only to have to backtrack and explain to the same person that you’re not, in fact, THAT type of doctor.

I understand it stems from the highest degree you earned. So perhaps we could eliminate centuries of confusion. Just assign yourselves the title of Ultimate, Uppermost or Summa, all-knowing, Scholar or Most Learned One.

Anything but “doctor.”

In my mind, if you’re not medically qualified to stand up on an airplane when someone asks, “Is there a doctor in the house?” then you shouldn’t call yourself “doctor.” 

(Oh, and if you’re OK with any of the above suggested alternatives, we probably shouldn’t hang out.)

But in the meantime, please join me in welcoming my folks back to Key West for the next three weeks. (And no, they don’t stay with Stan and me. They’ll be at the Southwinds Hotel. We want, after all, to ensure that the term “love” can still be used to describe our relationship during Week 2.) Welcome back, Mom and Dad! I love you more than my softest sweater and more than the word conveys.


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Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. An award-winning writer, reporter and columnist, she's been stringing words together in Key West since 1998. "Local news is crucial," she says. "It informs and connects a community. It prompts conversation. It gets people involved, holds people accountable. The Keys Weekly takes its responsibility seriously. Our owners are raising families in Key West & Marathon. Our writers live in the communities we cover - Key West, Marathon & the Upper Keys. We respect our readers. We question our leaders. We believe in the Florida Keys community. And we like to have a good time." Mandy's married to a saintly — and handy — fishing captain, and can't imagine living anywhere else.