When I was a kid, I enjoyed watching cartoons. My parents would let us watch them for about an hour on Saturday mornings. Then we would have to get dressed and do our assigned chores. In high school, I would watch them every now and then just to enjoy the wit of those who wrote the scripts.
Some people think watching cartoons is a waste of time, but I have learned some important things from them:
1. If you are a Coyote trying to catch a Roadrunner, DO NOT open a box marked ACME. It won’t end well, you will be making a trip to the ER. You can bet on it.
2. If you and your girlfriend are Russian agents, stay away from a talking Moose and Squirrel. They will outsmart you every time and you will get caught by the authorities.
3. When watching Daffy Duck, always keep a dictionary nearby. He will be using words you cannot understand.
I had to put that last one on the list because I learned the most from watching Daffy Duck. He was a rather excitable character and expressed his emotions well. He also had a great vocabulary and wasn’t afraid to use it. When I was little, I had to look up some of the words he used. Some of those words I still use today.
One of my favorites that he used was the word palaver. It can be used as a noun or a verb, but when used as a verb it means “to talk unproductively and at length.” That word allowed me to categorize excess verbiage when I heard it. If I was trying to buy a car and the salesman would go on and on, I was listening to him palaver. If I was in a class and the subject was boring, same thing. If I was listening to an opinion show and the guest was going on and on at length without saying anything constructive, you guessed it, palaver. When I am trying to discern the truth about something, I try to ignore the palaver and listen for any facts in the discussion.
Palaver…we hear it all the time. It is so nice to put a word on it. And to think I learned the concept and the word from watching a cartoon!
(With apologies to Wile E. Coyote!)