Yesterday, I was wasting another fine evening with Netflix and immensely enjoying “A Bit of Fry and Laurie” when Stephen Fry spoke these words:
“Imagine a piano keyboard, eh, 88 keys, only 88 and yet, and yet, hundreds of new melodies, new tunes, new harmonies are being composed upon hundreds of different keyboards every day in Dorset alone. Our language, tiger, our language: hundreds of thousands of available words, frillions of legitimate new ideas, so that I can say the following sentence and be utterly sure that nobody has ever said it before in the history of human communication: ‘Hold the newsreader’s nose squarely, waiter, or friendly milk will countermand my trousers.’ Perfectly ordinary words, but never before put in that precise order. A unique child delivered of a unique mother.”
While spoken ironically and for the sake of comedy, I found myself pondering this quote long after my laughter had died down. As a copywriter in the advertising world and a regular writer in the entertainment world, I have an above average appreciation for words. It’s fascinating to me that human speech has developed from grunts into Shakespearean sonnets. That words can be woven in such a way as to inspire armies or eruption an audience into laughter gives me chills. Let’s all take a minute to give thanks for language and the beauty of its potential.