by Almanac Artist, Scott Westgard
“To yes, or not to yes— that is the answer.” —Cheech-a-spere
The original seed that spawned this letter had the sole intention of presenting a positive slice of thought. I would have titled it “Yes”. But after flipping through books and numerous online searches for some particulars concerning “yes”, I came to the conclusion that what I found would hardly be enough to fill this page. That and the fact I’m not one who normally views the world through rose-colored glasses.
I discovered the word “yes” would find it difficult to exist sans the balancing effect of its imposing, darker brother, “no”. Without the word “no”, there would be nothing to compare it with. The same rule applies to night or day, up or down, black or white, and Republican or Democrat. The yin wouldn’t be there to give meaning to the yang or vice versa.
“Yes” has a positive effect and offers encouragement while “no” implies the negative and discourages. But both command a certain amount of power in their usage.
I also discovered in the Gaelic, Irish, and Latin languages, there are no single words for yes or no. For grins, I searched for more words and terms that held similar meanings for them.
For “yes”, I found the following: absolutely, affirmative, in agreement, right on, correct, yup, yowzer, exactly, assuredly and true. There’s also the “I do” at weddings, the “yes sir” (or “yaz suh” pronunciation from the old South), the “yah mon” used in Jamaica, the simple “si” suffices in Mexico, while in Scotland, “aye” is used instead, and the more casual “uh huh” rejoinder you may get from someone who is not really interested in what you are talking about.
For the word “no” other options included: that’s a no-no, nope, not, nah, no-way, never, not in this lifetime, banish the thought, bug-off, I can’t, I don’t, I won’t, not likely, “nyet” in Russian, and the forceful finality of “NEIN!” in the German language.
To fulfill my original intention of offering a positive piece, I do have some short, straight-forward advice. If someone comes to you with a serious life-changing question, and you can’t make a definitive decision one way or the other, simply answer “maybe”.
And yes, enjoy!
Jim & Mindy Elgas
P.S. Win gift certificates from local businesses when you play our three quarterly contests. We are once again offering “The Almanac Sun Search” contest, which can be found under the header “Contests”. Win $20 Gift Certificates to the fabulous Francesca’s Tavola Restaurant! Congrats to our recent winners: Kristin Meek, Vernon Sauer, Colleen Crandall, and Alex Gainulin. You can also play our Crypto-Nitions™ & Cartoon Caption contests online, found under the header “Contests”. Good luck!
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