As a writer, I maintain certain unexamined assumptions I do not wish to examine at all. To wit:
1. Words are the whole world.
2. All words are equal.
These assumptions mean I agonize not only over my own work, but at scarifying length over all words ever spoken or written to me. I can spin up whole rainbows of agony out of a lone "Sorry" scrawled on a rejection slip, and fury, too, because whoever wrote it doesn't seem really sorry! I can't seem to weigh and sort words according to their source or context or tone. Some people say that words are mere hot air, or can be ignored! Not I! To me, all words are serious! You can imagine how I fare in a culture that is jerry-built on kidding and banter. For example:
Hi there, Eagle Beak!
It's a joke! Just a joke! (Punches ME on the arm.) Can't you take a joke?
Ha, ha! I was just kidding. (Pounds ME on the arm repeatedly.) Geez!
You're a f-----g a--hole.
A-ha, ha, ha!