A Nugget of Advice

By Beacon Staff

I have mixed feelings about the word “nugget.” Yes, I’m uncomfortable with compressed poultry ovals, though I admit they are conveniently shaped for easy handheld consumption. But it’s more than that. Since I understand I’m in no position to comment on the morality of chicken farms or ovals, it’s really just the word “nugget” that I struggle with.

We are faced with various nuggets. A gold nugget is good. Any “Golden Nugget” casino is what you make of it, as is Kalispell’s “Montana Nugget.” The same goes for the famed chicken McNugget. If someone, in a fit of anger, called you a nugget, what would you make of that?

There is a Nugget Newspaper in Oregon and a Nome Nugget newspaper in Alaska. A professional basketball team calls itself the Denver Nuggets. I would find it hard to take myself seriously if I were a Nugget. Eric Bana starred in a movie called “The Nugget” and a Norwegian rock band called “The Nuggets” emerged in the 1960s.

This is a ridiculous topic, I realize, if you do not share my fascination with words. I just believe it’s interesting – and important – to take a break every once in awhile and think about everyday language. Language is taken for granted, considering the great importance we place on learning it. When parents teach language to their children, they take great care in examining specific words to make sure they are appropriate and useful for the child’s vocabulary. But what about our own vocabularies?

We allow bad habits to become routine. Profanity and space fillers such as “like” and “um” are the obvious culprits. Sometimes these fillers are effective tools to buy the speaker more time while waiting for the correct words to come. The majority of the time, though, they are simply bad habits. There are many other less obvious examples that are unique to each individual.

Taking time to really think about how we speak can be fun and disheartening at the same time. How you speak, which words you use, what cadence you choose, all play a role in how people perceive you. Nugget may be a silly word, but it’s interesting to think that it and many other strange words surround us on a daily basis and we give no thought to them. Humans latch on to words and expressions until they become common nomenclature. Many kids of the McDonald’s generations are prone to order McNuggets at any restaurant, regardless of its lack of McDonald’s affiliation.

But let’s not be too hard on nuggets. A chicken nugget doesn’t disturb me nearly as much as a fish finger. Sweaty nightmares of demented halibut with large fried fingers are something no kid should endure. Just think about it.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.