Which Wish Wins? by Bill Storie
At this time of year everyone seems to want to use the wish word.
- I wish you a merry Christmas
- I wish you a good new year
- I wish you all the best for next year
- I wish you peace and joy
You get the idea.
So, I thought I would check out this once-a-year word. Here’s what I found.
“To feel or express a strong desire or hope for something that is not easily attainable;
want something that cannot or probably will not happen.”
So here we are wishing people to have a happy Xmas knowing full well (or at least you do now) that it is “not easily attainable”.
Or that they will “probably not” have a happy new year.
Clearly, I’m missing something.
I reckon there was some fellow back in the Middle Ages who said to someone “I wish you health and happiness” knowing that the other guy did not have a dictionary, had no library nearby, perhaps couldn’t read anyway, so he had no idea that the cheeky fellow was actually hoping he would get sick.
Maybe the King of Spain sailed to England for a visit and said to King George, “Your Majesty, I wish you every success against the French foe”. But then, on his way home to Spain he stopped in Calais on the French Coast, horsed it to Paris and said the same kind of thing to King Louis. Then he sat back and watched as the two wishful-thinking Kings knocked the stuffing out of each other while believing that Spain had their separate best interests at heart.
I propose we think carefully about using the wish-word and in fact we should probably drop it all together. More wishful thinking on my part, I concede.
I highlighted the word “stuffing” above, because there’s another Christmassy word that could have been better thought through. I mean really.
“I say” the gallant knight of the square table said to some young, innocent lady at the Christmas dinner table, “would you care for some stuffing?”
Now of course back then, such language and provocative meaning would have been ignored as mere jesting, but nowadays, well, where would that get the knight?
Therefore, I propose we drop the stuffing word as well.
I’m sure there are many other words we use at this time of year which, on better thinking, we perhaps should avoid, but that would take all the fun out of this jolly festive period and those clever people amongst us would be denied the hilarity of the double entendre. Comedy shows, stand-up funny men, pantomimes, school plays, etc., would all have to re-script their funny lines if we denied them that pleasure.
Yet there would still be the Limerick available to them – another word we should consider dropping by the way (why should the Irish have all the fun?), but not yet …..
There was a young lady called Jill
Who chased after an old man called Bill
She declared she was keen, he was not a has-been
But the fellow just wouldn’t sit still.
Next week I will wish you a Happy Christmas – unless I can think of another word which actually is more meaningful and indeed truthful. But for now, I am Bill
By Bill Storie