Four-letter word

selfhelp

How do you deal with a rough day/week/month?

Sure, I mean there’s the obvious: A bottle (or other container) of your substance of choice. Distraction. Intoxication. Trying to forget.

But what if that doesn’t work?

If you’re at all like me, you launch into a cleaning/reorganizing frenzy. Out come the creme-coloured filing folders, cue the mock-up drafts of new bedroom furniture arrangements and make some coffee – this is going to be a big project.

As you dig through the piles of papers and envelopes to cards you’d sooner forget receiving, nostalgia is hard to avoid: A grimace, a slight smile, a faint giggle. That trademark stomach-sinking feeling. These scraps, stubs and receipts are all that’s left of days past – the places we’ve gone, the plays and movies that we’ve seen, the faces and bodies we used to swim alongside in this giant pool. <Best served with copious amounts of Fiona Apple playlists>.

“I miss you.”

I. Miss. You. How was it possible that such a seemingly simple, three-word sentence carry such complication, rendering doubt over its true meaning? Pushing aside the pair of pronouns, the remaining four-letter verb can be defined eight different ways:

1. to fail to hit or strike: to miss a target.
2. to fail to encounter, meet, catch, etc.: to miss a train.
3. to fail to take advantage of: to miss a chance.
4. to fail to be present at or for: to miss a day of school.
5. to notice the absence or loss of: When did you first miss your wallet?
6. to regret the absence or loss of: I miss you all dreadfully.
7. to escape or avoid: He just missed being caught.
8. to fail to perceive or understand: to miss the point of a remark.

Suddenly, the sentence — scrawled dozens of times on Facebook walls to long-lost high school “friends” and college acquaintances, usually followed by “let’s totally get coffee and catch up soon! yeah!” — doesn’t seem so simple or empty anymore. It never was.

SONGS FOR A FOUR-LETTER WORD:

Download: Los Campesinos! ‘It’s Never That Easy Though, Is It? (Song for the Other Hurt)’ (mp3)
Download: PJ Harvey ‘Silence’ (mp3)
Download: Metric ‘Help I’m Alive’ (mp3)
Download: Cold War Kids ‘Hang Me Up to Dry’ (mp3)
Download: Passion Pit ‘The Reeling’ (mp3)
Download: Nite Jewel ‘Lover’ (mp3)

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