Do you know that the word “race car” spelled backwards still spells “race car?”
Do you know that “eat” is the only word that if you take the first letter and move it to the last, it spells its past tense “ate?”
I don’t know where I came across such information, but knowing such a thing somehow seems worthwhile. At the very least it’s amusing. Lots of tidbits of information are amusing, and without them our daily routines would be boring. Take for instance, my latest obsession: counting deer.
When I was growing up in the Carolinas, we lived in the country where I routinely saw herds of cows munching and resting in pastures--and in the fringes of the woods. I never gave it much thought and simply enjoyed the bucolic scenes. About two years ago, I saw a deer in the edge of the woods near my house. This winter the herd has taken refuge in the fringes of the woods behind my house. Yesterday I counted eighteen. They wander though my backyard, nibble on my shrubs and hedges, lie in the snow (in spite of the fact that it’s deep) and chew their cud just like cows do. Last summer, they munched on my neighbor’s beautiful roses. Since the coming of the deer, I no longer plan an interesting flower bed on the west side of my house. Several years ago, I noted the flowers in that bed never bloomed. I soon learned why. Deer love flowers. I don’t think deer eat marigolds, so this year that’s the only flower I plan to put out there. I’ll find out if deer eat marigolds by mid-summer.
Speaking of counting things, when I stop at a railroad crossing, I count the cars. Today on my way to an appointment, I was stopped for nearly thirty minutes waiting for two trains to cross. One engine pulled more than eighty cars. (I lost the exact count.) When writers enter contests or submit to publications, they have to adhere to required word count. I recall assigning themes to my students, telling them their themes should be around five hundred words. Students groaned. To them, five hundred words seemed impossible. Sometimes they added words just to fluff out the count.
A writer needs to select words carefully. Speakers need to do the same. I like the word count tool on my computer because it helps me organize my writing. I tend to be “wordy.” Many of you may remember the advice to “write down the bones.” It’s true. Get to the point. Support your thesis. Use examples.
Lately whether counting deer, train cars, or words in an article, I find myself distracted. I find myself counting the days until spring! It’s been a long rough winter here in the Midwest, and for your benefit, there are exactly 490 words in this blog.