In chapter 13 of The Sun Also Rises, Jake, as narrator, comments on how Harris, the Englishman they had met on their fishing trip to Spain had picked up the word “utilize” from Bill. He was utilizing it quite often, I suppose, for Jake to have noticed. This got me thinking, though. What kinds of things do we pick up and repeat? Several years ago, after spending a summer working with my brother, I picked up the line, “You gonna have some of that,” meaning, “That tends to happen; what’s the big deal?” For better or worse, I am not sure I spend that much time with any one person these days besides my family. If I have picked up a phrase from someone, I am not aware of it. And then I wondered, does anyone pick anything up from me?
I don’t know about phrases, but I would hope that someone would pick up on my love for God and that it would be contagious. I would also hope that I am not picking up negative things from others: sarcasm, bitterness, complaints, …
I overheard two conversations this morning that were markedly different. One involved a guy who had nothing but positive things to say about someone else. Despite opportunities to take the bait that the other guy was offering, he refused to surrender his position of saying only nice things. I appreciate that. The other involved someone who was trying to get the easy way out. Again, despite opportunities that were offered to drop it, this person repeatedly sought the short cut.
Now, I don’t know if these were isolated events or not. I don’t know either person. But if they are any indication, I would prefer to hang out with the first guy over the second. I wonder, if people overheard my conversations throughout the day, would they be inclined to hang out with me?