Word Up!

This post is in response to today’s Daily Prompt entitled, Verbal Ticks:

Is there a word or a phrase you use (or overuse) all the time, and are seemingly unable to get rid of? If not, what’s the one that drives you crazy when others use it?

YO. I am 100% guilty on this; I have way too many verbal ticks. Also “texting ticks”. They’re slightly different but definitely within the same vein.

Off the top of my head some of my most frequented verbal go-tos are, “That’s wild”, “For real?”, “No worries”, and “Word”. The “texting ticks” are kind of an extension of these. Instead of “Word” I’ll say, “Word up”. I also use “No prob” and “Sure thing”. I use “Yo” a lot too, verbally and with text.

It’s funny ’cause now that I think about it, I did have another word I overused that eventually (thankfully) found its way out of my vocabulary. That word was, “Trillz” – Slang for “True that”. I picked it up from a friend of mine at the time who always used it and it stuck like super-glue for years. I would continue using it, even though I was sometimes the only one who knew what it meant. I remember going to college my first year and using it in conversation and some people were like, “Huh?” or “Did you just say, ‘Trillz’?”. It was a trip. UGH. That’s another one I use. Sometimes to describe something crazy or unorthodox, instead of saying “That’s crazy” or “That’s wild”, I’ve now been resorting to “That’s a trip” or “What a trip!” or “It was a trip!” in describing something out-there, mind-blowing, unbelievable, an experience. But I digress. “Trillz” eventually progressed into “True”, which progressed into “Word”/”Word up”. I use the latter more frequently now. Must be all the Hip-hop I listen to or something…

It’s interesting to see how little catch-phrases and slang have such an impact on our conversational dialect and how often it’s understood by others, even if they don’t use it themselves. I’m not educated enough to know whether or not this phenomenon exists in other languages aside from English, but I suspect it does. It seems only natural, right? My Nonna pulls a few words from her sleeve from time to time. She’s a riot.

All in all though, I’m glad these verbal ticks do exist despite there potential annoyance. Think about how boring talking would be if we were straight-laced dictionary nerds. Slang and catch-phrases liven things up. It makes things fun. The words we use on our day-to-day basis are a reflection of our character, an outer extension of who we are. Not only do we communicate to one another through the interchange of words, but we communicate who we are by putting our demeanor on display and maybe even flaunting our vocabulary a little bit so we may be authentically understood. We speak who we are and we are what and how we speak, right?

But is it our true selves shining through? Or perhaps the projection or portrayal of who we want to be viewed as when the outside world is looking in…



Antonio, 1984

This post is in response to today’s Daily Prompt entitled, Antique Antics:

What’s the oldest thing you own? (Toys, clothing, twinkies, Grecian urns: anything’s fair game.) Recount its history — from the object’s point of view.


NonnoOctober 1984. Wedding rehearsal dinner.

I am a solemn captured moment of a joyous evening.

A celebration for my oldest daughter.

I am a 29-year-old photograph, snugly fitted into the corner of a bedroom mirror.

Antonio – father, husband, soon-to-be grandfather –

6 more years, you’ll see.

He’s sitting in a wooden folding chair at the table, gazing out across the table, tired,

unaware of the camera’s presence,

just quietly thinking to himself.

The party, melted away in his mind.

When the film was developed, I was probably passed around at family parties

to be thumbed through and glanced at.

Over the years of family functions, celebrations, and holidays, a mountain of pictures formed

like the accumulation of sediment over time.

It became too great, too heavy – Not enough space.

And so I was rolled into it too

to be stored in a 40 lb bin of memories,

to sit in the bottom of a cool, damp New Jersey basement

so far from where I came from. So far from home.

One day, a girl came downstairs, noticed the bin of photographs.

I was one out of a thousand. How did she find me?

Was it fate?

Or random occurrence?

She grabbed a handful

to thumb through and glance at

and went back upstairs.

She looked at me with curiosity and slowly set me aside.

I didn’t go back downstairs with the others

but lay breathing on the dining room table of a house I never recall entering.

I was taken higher up to where the air was warmer,

to her bedroom, to be tucked into the mirror, so she could see me everyday.

You see, I remind her of something – A dream.

A fleeting dream she had about 3 years ago,

way before she knew me or my whereabouts.

It was fall semester, sophomore year of college.

Nightfall. He was sitting outside a church.

No eye contact, side profile, same stoic expression.

She gasped and cried. No one believed he was there.

They didn’t even look! They just told her, “No. He’s gone now”.

She woke up in the midst of hiccuping tears, alone,

mind like an turbulent ocean.

Because as Antonio looked out thoughtfully on the wonderful day,

everyone was unaware of the silent ticking clock counting down in the background:

9 years, 2 months, 6 minutes, 30 seconds.

9 years, 2 months, 3 minutes, 11 seconds

and so on.

So when she looks at me in the mirror atop her dresser,

she thinks back to the man she never knew, or rather

knew too briefly.

She misses him more than anything, gets teary eyed from time to time.

It’s difficult for her to explain why, only that she has this innate knowledge that he loved her,

this inner frustration that she can’t go back, or change anything.

It’s not easy to talk about.

She’s forever scarred by the stroke he suffered right next to her – December 1993.

She was 3 years old

and it was the last time she would ever see him again.