Musings on words and Charles Ramsey

Words and money are the currency on which our lives depend on. Loving and caring words, lift our spirits, keep us going and can even fill our hearts with joy. Money? You simply need it need it to live. There is no way around it.

Until a few days ago, it never dawned on me that as a wordsmith; even I could create words that while honest, simply missed the mark. Of course it’s easier to see when others fall short in their words but sometimes it takes a bit more to look at ourselves and acknowledge our own shortcomings especially when we assume we know.

I found myself in a rather uncomfortable place professionally a few days ago when I realized the words that I had been using while honest, simply fell short. Thankfully, I was able to make a course correction and there is light at the end of this challenging professional tunnel.

This unfortunate incident has made me ponder the greater issue of honesty and intentions in our words. It seems everywhere I turn, whether it is online or offline, everyone is being honest and speaking their truth and while that always feels good. There are times when honest words fall short. Either they are used as weapons to destroy and hurt others or an excuse to highlight our own personal failings and lack of common sense.

Then just when I was mulling this all over today, I heard about Charles Ramsey, the Black man in Cleveland, OH who helped rescue three missing women who had long been assumed dead. Charles Ramsey is like many relatives of mine, a plain talking, working-class Black man in the Midwest. For those not used to such people, Ramsey is a delightful and colorful man who is hamming it up. Really? In my extended family, we must all be hams then!  

No one disputes that Ramsey is a hero but what I find fascinating is how in using his words to tell a story which isn’t funny in my two cent opinion, it created a situation of humor for some.  His words are a reflection of his reality and to some degree his place on America’s invisible but not really class ladder.  I suspect the line between those of us laughing with him and those laughing at him is a thin line indeed. At the moment Ramsey is the toast of the internet and cable news networks with viral memes popping up, yet there is a part of me that wonders how many are uncomfortable with his honesty?

 In sharing his version of the story with us, he used his words to speak his truth, yet some honest and truthful words cannot ever be heard because we would rather be amused at times. Words…they are a tricky and messy business indeed.