Sunday, 30 August 2009

Stringing Words Like Beads

You know how it is when you rediscover a word in the sense that you hear it and you know it but it sounds totally strange all the same?

For me, just such a word has been ‘bead’. If I repeat it over and over in my head very soon the connection between label and object becomes almost completely erased. There ceases to be any significant relevance applied or association made. Why on earth is a small decorative ball with a hole in the middle a ‘bead’?

At times like this I have to re-establish a link before I become in danger of slowly erasing yet another word from my limited vocabulary. In the case of the ‘bead’ I remind myself of a joke I heard on a Sunday lunchtime radio comedy show when I was a kid. It may have been ‘Round The Horne’, I can’t remember exactly. The joke was about an exotic dancer who performed a dance wearing just one single bead. Predictably, there followed a number of saucy quips and riotous laughter from the audience. The punch-line was that men drooled over the dancer in question, straining to discover what the bead concealed. Then, one fateful day, during an unchoreographed contortion, the bead fell off. The poor woman's exposure was her downfall and her adoring fans deserted her, quickly concluding that without the bead she wasn’t really up to much. Pathetic isn't it? But this, for me, is what brought 'bead' back from the dead.

Now I have a much better reference. Our Speckly-Woo (two year-old granddaughter) is a 'dab hand' at carefully creating ‘bead people’. Now, I find, the word is more likely to conjure an image of the rather loosely formed Mr and Mrs Bead. And, believe me, these are people I can relate to.

The loosely formed Mr Bead

The long-suffering Mrs Bead

© 2009, copyright Martin T. Hodges 

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