Ladies and gentlebeings of the jury, I’d like to make a rather bold statement if I may be so gauche.

If you’re reading these words, (and if you’re not, this entire endeavour will be rather embarrassing) you are wealthy beyond measure.


Filthy rich.

“In clover” as those humans far more hip that myself might say.

“What the devil are you on about now?” I hear you exclaim. “I’m far from rich. Have you SEEN my credit card statement from Christmas?”

Steady on my dearest reader. Flagrant festive financial frittering notwithstanding, you are, as they say, “rolling in it.” Madness you say? I beg to differ.

You see, the resource to which I refer, the treasure of which you are so resplendent, is in fact NOT money. The asset of which I speak has a value far greater than numbered pieces of paper with images of famous dead people printed on them.

It can build empires and tear them down again.

It can fuel the boldest dreams and crush the deepest hopes.

It can hurt and it can heal.

It’s a catalyst for ideas.

The treasure I speak of is language.


Lingua franca.

The second most valuable currency available to the human animal.

Every day we buy, sell, trade and engage in the commerce of communication. And yet, we rarely stop to think just how filthy rich we are in the area of language. From the prosaic to the sublime, this eclectic collection of symbols, sounds and recondite structures have given birth to utterances that move people to feel every emotion available in the human buffet:

“Now cracks a noble heart. Good-night, sweet prince; And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.” – William Shakespeare

“To boldy go where no one has gone before…” – Gene Roddenberry

“If one man can destroy everything, why can’t one girl change it?” – Malala Yousafzai

“I have a dream…” – Martin Luther King Jr.

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” – Anais Nin

“If we’re not meant to have midnight snacks, why is there a light in the fridge?” – Unknown

And that’s just English. There are estimated to be nearly 7000 languages spoken on this big blue marble, to say nothing of the endless array of variations, dialects and regionalisms that abound among Homo Sapiens.

My dear and long suffering reader, please take a moment today to experience the embarrassment of riches in which we revel each and every day. It truly is deserving of our gratitude.

Our words give birth to our ideas, and our ideas can change the world.

Now my carbon-based compatriots, the more perspicacious of you, those on the qui vive, are wondering about something I said earlier in this piece.

Specifically, you’re wondering what I meant when I suggested that language was the second most valuable currency available to humans.

The most valuable should really be obvious, as it underlies and dictates the use of every other resource we have: Love.

It’s amazing that in a language that contains such jaw-breaking tongue-twisters as “pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis” – a word that I only use, at most, twice a week – those four letters carry more emotional weight than all the sesquipedalian nonsenses we could ever imagine.

Rich beyond the dreams of avarice indeed.

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