Up (prep) – in, at or to a higher level (adv) indicate thoroughness or completion of an action; coming out or through some medium; rising above or seeming to rise, above or over something. – Microsoft Encarta College Dictionary
After three years of being my first reader, my husband, Brian, may need to give up his solitary role of sojourning through many drafts of my writing before the finished product is due. When he gives me feedback, sometimes he is tactful and other times he is not. Now, I think he's totally fed up with his role.
"What's up with your use of the word 'up'?" Brian asked. "Can't you write anything without using the word up or is this a Pennsylvania thing, since you were born and raised there? Do Pennsylvanians use up a lot?"
"What's up with you?" I asked. "I was really feeling up until this very moment. Why are you bringing this up?" I challenged, shrugging off the condescending tone of his question.
"Because I think you ought to try giving up using the word up," he quipped.
"Oh, you do," I said defensively. "It sounds like you are fed up."
"If it were up to me, I'd come up with another way to say what you want to say without using 'up' so much," he said emphatically.
"Can we talk about this another time?" I said. "I'm busy redding up the house, and I can't put up with this right now."
"Sorry I brought it up," he said.
"Do you know that your voice goes up when you disagree with me," I observed. "Now, would you please leave the literary criticism up to me?"
"I was just pointing out that you have a tendency to use up in uncommon places," he pressed, as our discussion began heat up. "It's like you can't help yourself. You use up in every way you can think up."
"I guess I didn't realize it," I backed off.
"Well, it's true," he came back. "Just look how many times you used 'up' in the last week's column: 'Dishing UP little bit of sugar…There is much more to her life growing UP in America's heartland…You lift people UP …before we hang up…'"
"Wow, you are really turning up the volume," I said defensively. I briefly pondered his observation of my use of the word up. "The only reason I can think up for my overuse of up is because it has up-teen uses," I justified. "When I looked it up, I found six column inches in the dictionary dedicated to defining the word up. Just think of it, six column inches of up! There are very few words with such wide meaning."
"Not to change the subject," I said, trying to change the subject. "Did you call in our reservations for the annual steak fry? I've been so tied up with work I haven't had a chance to call."
"I give up," Brian sighed exhaustively.
"What's up with him?" I mumbled as walked up the stairs, wondering who else might be up to the task as my first reader.
Note to Plain Talk Readers: Paula Damon is seriously considering calling up an alternate first reader, since her husband is giving up on her excessive use of the word up. If you think you are up to the task of staying up late to read her drafts, look her up at 712- 301-9792. Or post a note up on her Facebook page or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Seriously, she thinks he is fed up.
Paula Damon. A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Damon is a national award-winning columnist. Her columns have won first-place in National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women Communications Contests. In the 2009 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contest, Paula's columns took three first-place awards. To contact Paula, email email@example.com, follow her blog at www.my-story-your-story.blogspot.com and find her on Facebook.
2009© Paula Damon