Apparently, of the nearly 1 million words in the English language, most ordinary people use about 6,000 words regularly. This limited vocabulary seems to serve the basic communication needs of the modern day caveman and his family just fine.
I admit that the word “dispense” has not been one of my 6,000 words, (However, I do fondly remember my PEZ dispenser). When my mind was searching for a word that means “to deal out in portions,” my brain would simply pass over the word dispense and move onto something like ... “Hey, somebody pass the pizza.”
Because the words “dispense” (to distribute) and “dispensary” (a place from which to dispense) will now be part of the daily lexicon, I thought I should think about how I might use them in 2014.
First, I’d like to see several things “dealt out in portions.” We could more evenly dispense our volunteerism with our many nonprofits, our donations to the needy and our giving to local charities. Consider dispensing some time to youth, senior or military programs or to local civic boards and commissions. It’s true that many of the same people sit and serve, and new faces and ideas would be warmly welcomed in any of these programs or organizations.
Likewise, as a community, we would do well to continue to dispense discretionary spending in favor of local businesses, thereby supporting local payrolls. The college, the train and the tourism office continue to dispense a positive image of “Durango the destination” through their national and international marketing efforts. Local elected officials and many individual citizens sit on state, regional and industry boards, thereby dispensing the good reputation of Durango across Colorado.
Ideally, I’d like to see more dispensing of basic civility and good manners. Hearing “please” and “thank you” a little more often would be nice. Of course, we can all count on our friends and relatives dispensing plenty of advice about what we should be doing with our lives.
My favorite extended use of the word dispense is, dispense with (do without). I’m sure everyone has their own salty list of things that they would like to dispense with. I think downtown would love to dispense with sidewalk trash and cigarette litter, unsightly graffiti and needless petty vandalism. Perhaps bar patrons could dispense with over-indulging and bar operators with over-serving. And maybe a good New Year’s resolution would be to dispense with using the car a few days each week.
To be fair, I’m sure we all have a list of things not to be dispensed with, such as holidays, locally brewed craft beers and the Saturday morning Farmers Market.
So, in order to have something to dispense in 2014, I‘ve decided to go retro. I’ll buy a new PEZ dispenser, which will become my dispensary of choice from which I’ll dispense my favorite PEZ candies. And because of all of this, my limited, 6,000-word vocabulary will now expand to 6,003.
email@example.com Bob Kunkel is the downtown business development manager for the city of Durango.