Economy of Words: Why Bother With a Conversation When One Word Will Do?

It’s a riot to drop in on my parents’ conversations.

Goes something like this:

Mom: “Dino, would you please put gas in my car this morning? The trash comes early today, so make sure you get it out. Please buy food for the cat. The bird needs your attention, else he’ll be screeching all day. What did you think of the film last night? How ’bout we have dinner out Thursday?”

Dad: “Yuuup.”

Mom’s learned to interpret the yups: sometimes they’re a single bullet, yup, when she’s discussing one subject. Other times, he looses a yuuuuuuuup, denoting several answers in the affirmative.

Or maybe he’s just appeasing her. But his yups are musical and melodic, so we forgive him for his economy of words and his practicing the universal laws of physics, like conservation of mass and energy.

When Mom questions him about the mass part of his equation, he smirks and mumbles something like, “The weight of my breath.”

Mumbling conserves energy, he tells me.



Tripsy South is the author of the novel WTF, Dorkus! Schoolin’ My Shrink On Teen Suicide. Trained in physics at a cool surfer university, she lives and plays in Los Angeles where she’s a freelance writer and editor.