One of my favorite episodes in the history of the BBC show, Doctor Who, is an episode called 42, written by Chris Chibnall. (If you’re totally confused about what Doctor Who is about, click here.)
The Doctor [David Tennant], and his companion at the time, Martha [Freema Ageyman], land on a ship that’s about to crash into the sun in 42 minutes (done in real time during the show’s run). According to Wikipedia, the episode is called 42 to pay homage to the “answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything” in Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, which in that series was determined to be 42.
Imagine the stress of solving that problem. You get creative when your life is on the line. That’s why this episode is one of my favorites. That and the fact that the sun has always been a source of fascination for me. It can be pleasantly warm on a spring day and lethal in a desert or a drought. It’s untamed. The same object that is life nurturing can kill in an instant.
Words are like that. I don’t have to convince you of that if you have a Twitter account or other forms of social media. Perhaps you’ve witnessed one of the infamous Twitter mobs where one tweet launches a thousand words—each like a flaming arrow—at a target, igniting a war. But in just about every case, the flaming arrows defy the laws of physics in that after they hit the target, they boomerang and hit the first tweeter as well, usually within a day or so. Even when tweets are deleted, they live on through news stories and word of mouth. Many a career has derailed because of a word.
Many times, I’ve said things in anger I wish I could unsay. But I’ve never experienced regret after affirming someone.
Every day we have a choice to be life giving or deadly; to enlighten someone or to burn him or her with a word.
Heard a good word? Feel free to share in the comments below.
Pinkie Pie thinks the chicken’s tweet, Everyone is a cluck, will cause problems down the road. But the chicken is adamant and refuses to delete the tweet.
Doctor Who 42 images from Wikipedia and the BBC. Sun image from Union of Concerned Scientists. Other photos by L. Marie.