The Physical Intangible

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A tuba sat next to the wall – neglected by all appearances. The dust was thick on most surfaces, and anybody could tell what was used regularly by the lack of dust. A fairly-clean pair of glasses sat next to an extremely dusty old television set, and a barely-visible stack of envelopes sat next to a somewhat polished typewriter.

The furniture was that of a bachelor. A single armchair sat in the corner, next to a small round side-table. A few books, mostly classics, were piled on the table. The wood floor was spotted here and there with throw rugs of various shapes and smells. An ancient phonograph hummed from its stand, some vaguely familiar tune. A man sat in the chair, talking to an uninterested cat.  

“…and to be honest, I was treated with… um… utter… uh… hold on…”

The man stood up and half-walked, half-stumbled over to the opposite wall, which, other than the man himself, was the most interesting aspect of the room. Dressed in some form of loose-fitting night clothes, he looked rather ridiculous as he shuffled across the living room floor. His hair was disheveled and his beard fluffed out like an upside-down afro. The cat twitched his tail and turned his head to follow his human. The cat glanced briefly at the wall as his human reached it, but cats really aren’t interested in most inanimate things that can’t be made to roll across the floor.

The wall was one of those impressive bookshelves that one might find in an old library or mansion. A ladder on rollers was fitted to the wall, and the man could reach any part of any shelf by merely rolling the ladder back and forth, which he often did just to amuse himself. The shelves, ladder, and contents of the shelves, I might add, were the cleanest things in the room. Not a trace of dust was to be found on any of them.

“Umm…. Let’s see here,” the man muttered and mumbled under his breath as he slid expertly on the ladder along the wall.

“con… con.. continent, California, caliphate, concentrate, congenial, oh.. wait… gee…” he slid back along the wall in the other direction.

He rummaged through the objects on the shelves as he went.

“Ah ha! Geniality! It was right on the tip of my tongue; I could picture it and hear it, but I couldn’t say it, Tabs.” The cat watched a fly buzz around the room. “Yes, it was a welcoming atmosphere, to be sure, but I….” his voice droned on as the fly came just a bit too close to Tabs.

The man placed the little carving of “geniality” back on the shelf. The words all quivered as he climbed back down the ladder. Tens of thousands of combinations of letters. They all sat proudly in their spots in his physical vocabulary.

“Anyway… huh… you don’t care, do you, Tabs?” He picked up his book and began to read. “Ooh… there’s a new one.” Setting his book back on the little table, he set to work whittling a few letters out a block of wood, and Tabs batted the wood shavings as they fell.

Anyway. Long time no post. Wouldn’t it be so cool if we could have a physical representation of our vocabularies? I was talking to my friend about this, and I think that we decided it’d be best presented in a Tim Burtonesque style of animation. The person would have a giant bookcase, filled with tons of words of all shapes and sizes. He’d reach for some and words would be scattered, falling like a literary rain. Is that a thing? I’ve no idea… 

Have a great day! 
Chris

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