What Do You Expect?

What do you picture when someone tells you to visit Dry Falls?

For me, the name implies a waterfall that won’t get you wet. Last weekend, that was partially true. With all the recent rain, this 75-foot-tall waterfall near Highlands, N.C. gushed and sprayed us more than usual as we walked behind it. While it was a truly spectacular, awe-inspiring sight, Dry Falls didn’t quite live up to its name that day.

This professional wordsmith is well aware there are a myriad of ways to describe something. At times, word choices defy expectations. Now, I’m not referring to oxymorons, the figures of speech that combine two contradictory elements like “jumbo shrimp,” “definitely maybe” or “act naturally.” Rather, I’m talking about language that conflicts with reality. Falsehoods, lies and liars.

When did we as a society become afraid to state the obvious with unambiguous terms? Why do we choose to obfuscate issues with imprecise language? Will we stay dry the next time we stroll behind that picture-worthy waterfall along the Cullasaja River in the Nantahala National Forest?

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