With Mercury retrograde, I figure this isn’t a bad time to consider some verbal issues, so with my DSL up to something like normal speed some of the time, I thought now would be a good time. It’s actually almost a week into the retrograde period, and I am finding it to be a very tough one.

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that I was using a word - a common word - with uncommon frequency. Actually, I was using it in a variety of situations, apparently as a marker in my conversation, a way of saying “this is important.”

The thing is, although I found myself using this word with uncommon frequency, I actually started hearing others using it as well. Was this just a case of my being more sensitive and perceptive to the word, or was it actually being used more? There is probably no way to tell, but I think the word is actually being used more and more, and for the same reason that I am using it - to serve as a conversational marker. Actually, since I have become aware of it, I am trying to use it less.

Here’s another word that has emerged over the last few months: “Conventional” - with regard to produce. It seems that in places like Whole Foods, you can buy either “Organic” or “Conventionally Grown” fruits and vegetables. Dr. Andrew Weil also used this distinction in one of his recent columns, and I have seen it elsewhere as well.

It’s a funny thing, because it makes “Organic” sound so new and special. But the truth is, throughout most of human history our food was organically grown. And while there is no single marker in time when we began using pesticides and artificial fertilizers, we can say that “conventional” farming is far less than a hundred years old. As we have added in GMO foods and irradiation, “conventional” produce has become more and more unconventional.

Just a thought for Mercury retrograde.