One day I would like to own my words.  Unfortunately, I still rent.

Sure, sometimes I borrow.  Sometimes I even steal.  But mostly it is a month to month payment plan.

Today was a beautiful day in New York.  It was a good day to try to own some words.  I don’t know if you all know this, but in New York City, words like to fly in the summer air, hoping to escape the heat of all the tiny apartments without sufficient air conditioning.  I woke up early, hoping to beat the other word-searchers, and headed to Central Park with my butterfly net.  I was ready to catch some words, wrestle them to the ground if necessary.  Once they were in my possession, I would take them home on the subway, trapping them in a coffee can I brought in a knapsack, and then — tad-ah! — I would finally own my words.  How proud I would be to write a new post, announcing to everyone that the words you are reading are my own true words, copyrighted and trademarked like Google, Disney, and Snapple!

I was tip-toeing near the Central Park boathouse, binoculars at eye-level,  when I encountered a middle-aged couple in the midst of an argument.  They were about 50 feet up ahead.  He had a gray beard and looked like a professor.  She was thin, with the demeanor of a magazine editor.  She looked like Diane Keaton. I tried to eavesdrop on their argument, but couldn’t make out much of the conversation.  They spoke in a calm manner, even during this heated discussion, nothing like the dishes thrown against wall affairs in my own home.  The professor said something about “Martin” and “Connecticut” and “not again.”  He was very animated with his hands.  The magazine editor said, “You’re wrong!” She said it was a sudden energy, with an anger she didn’t even know existed, and she was jolted by her own words, and it was at that moment that I saw the word “wrong” speed away into the muggy air, like a thoroughbred at the Belmont Stakes.  Was the word “wrong” angry?  Was it waiting for this moment of intensity to finally escape the tension building in this woman’s tongue and lips and vocal cords.  I did not wait to learn.  I really didn’t care.  I had work to do.  I was going to capture that word for my own.

I know some of you are members of PETA or humanists who don’t think I should be out in Central Park hunting down words and capturing them like slaves in Egypt, imprisoning them for my own enjoyment, forcing them into hard labor.  I know your type.  Hypocrites!  How much do you pay your own words?  I read your blogs.  Do you give your words medical care?  Or do you just use your words like Walmart uses Chinese children in a Guangdong sweatshop, making sweaters for suburban housewives at discount prices?

Let’s get real.  The world of words is one of finders keepers.  If I can capture a word with my butterfly net, it is none of your freakin’ business.

I raced through the park, and down Fifth Avenue, smashing my elbow into baby strollers, like a swag-crazy mother at the Swiffer party at BlogHer, a predator after my prey.   I wanted that word.

And then with one long off-balanced swoop of the arm, I grabbed the word, entrapping it in my net.  At least.  I now owned a word.

I owned the word “wrong.”

Why are our joys so short-lived?  By the time, I returned to Queens, much of my  enthusiasm had faded.  I had time to think while on that lonely subway ride.  What could I do with one word?  After all, there is not much to write when you only own one word.

Wrong.   Wrong.   Wrong.

It is a little boring, right?

So, I released the word, and off “Wrong” flew, over Valentino’s Pizzeria and into the night sky.

I’m still a renter of words.  One day, I hope to find the right group of words, and make them my own.