This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Thing To Do Today: spend.

This illustration from David Copperfield is by Fred Barnard.

Charles Dickens' Mr Micawber famously said: 

"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."

Luckily, the bankers of the world agree with him.

Unfortunately it's Mr Micawber's other famous saying they agree with:

Something Mr Micawber used to say will turn up.

(I note with a sigh that Mr Micawber went to prison for debt and finally attained prosperity by getting a job in the public sector.)

Anyway. Spending. If we're British we spend pennies very regularly indeed, for here to spend a penny means to go to the lavatory.

But wherever we are, there's no avoiding spending. Even if we can manage not to spend any money, then we all must spend time constantly, whether it's on learning or playing or keeping ourselves from starving.

No wonder we end the day spent: that is, exhausted.

It's not just humans who get spent, either: a fish is spent when it's finished spawning, and a spent gnat is one that's lying on the water.

If we're shopping then we're probably spending in at least three difference ways (time, money, energy). It was Wordsworth's opinion that Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers.

Now, there speaks a man with little dress sense and a wife and sister to look after him.

But there's no doubt he knew a thing or two, did old Wordsworth, for all that.

Thing To Do Today: spend. This word  comes from the Old English spendan, from the Latin expendere, from pendere, to weigh.

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