Writing that moves readers to action


For the past couple of weeks, notes and signs have been splattered everywhere on campus.  This signage contained one single word – UNITE.  Since I arrive early on campus…and don’t spend much of my day there…I was stumped…and could not envision or imagine what this singular word might be referring to or even what it’s context might be in a current day University setting.

Rather than inquire or poke around among the students to learn more about this isolated word UNITE – its source, context and/or the nature of the word – the little kid in me gave my a.m. imagination permission to dance with and even toss this word around like a volleyball all week long.

While in this mental state of playfulness, one of the most fascinating observations (to me, of course) I stumbled upon was how by simply flipping one letter, it became possible to literally UNTIE UNITE – an extremely titillating concept for those of us who are enamored by wordplay.

Since surrender, for me, did not come easily in this mental volleyball game, I took some time to do a bit of research to discern whether there might be some intriguing phenomena to explain my observation – maybe some linguistic or historical story…or if others might be pondering or contemplating the fascination of this as well.

From a linguistic/historical standpoint, I found little to shed light on the coincidence of the “i” flipping:

unite (v.)  Early 15c., from Latin unitus, past participle of unire “to unite,” from unus “one” . Related: Uniteduniting.

tie (v.)  Old English tigantiegan, from the source of tie (n.). Related: TiedtyingTie-dye first attested 1904.Tie one on “get drunk” is recorded from 1951. In the noun sense of “connection,” tie-in dates from 1934.

tie (n.)  “that with which anything is tied,” Old English teag, from Proto-Germanic *taugo (cf. Old Norse taug“tie,” tygill “string”), from PIE *deuk- “to pull, to lead” (cf. Old English teon “to draw, pull, drag;” see duke (n.)).Figurative sense is recorded from 1550s. Meaning “equality between competitors” is first found 1670s, from notion of a connecting link (tie-breaker is recorded from 1961). Sense of “necktie, cravat” first recorded 1761. The railway sense of “transverse sleeper” is from 1857, American English.

So, I proceeded to explore if others might be pondering or contemplating this same fascination…and landed in some intriguing places…

UNTIED OR UNITED?  Sermons with typos can lead one astray…
Some time ago I wrote an essay using this quote: “To profess faith in Christ is to be united with him, and if we are united with him then we are united with his body, the Church.” The problem with writing a 15-20 page paper is that the little details are lost on eyes that are scanning for mistakes. We have become dependent on our “spell checker” to illuminate with red underlining the spelling mistakes we make. Even the eye can be fooled into thinking it sees a word spelled correctly when in fact it is not.

So it happened that I lost marks for a spelling mistake in this quote. You saw what I intended to write but this is how it turned out: “To profess faith in Christ is to be untied with him, and if we are untied with him then are untied with his body, the Church.” According to spell-checker “untied” is spelled correctly; spell-checker does not detect idiocy.

There is a lesson in this little glitch of mine. The difference between being united as a church or untied from the church is where you place the “I.” When “I” have the wrong attitude, when “I” want my way, when “I” consider myself to be more important than others in the church, then there is disunity. Then we are untied instead of united.  More

UNTIED.COM  Creative ways of coping and confronting.
Earlier today when trying to log into United.com from my work computer to check on a flight to the Philippines I made a few weeks earlier I found myself having difficulties retrieving my reservation. After a closer look I realized that I was not on United’s web page at all, but instead I was on an Anti-United Consumer Protest page!

The web page has been kept updated and looks very similar to the United page. In fact, for someone who rarely flies United (I RARELY visit united.com), one could easily be confused by this web page. The only time I ever have flown United was for work, once from MCI to Sea vs Den and another from MCI to Montana via Denver. However both times I booked the flight through my company’s page and never visited united.com However, point is the page has the same general structure and color scheme as united.com. I had initially clicked in the middle right side of the screen to log into the MileagePlus area to retrieve my reservation. When the web page wouldn’t allow me to input my email address, then and only then did I realize I was on the wrong page! Good trick people! You pulled a fast one on me!  More

Untied.com has actually be around since its conception in 1997.  It was started by a Canadian traveler after he had a less than pleasant experience on United flights that took him to Hawaii and Japan. He initially sent complaint letters to United, but after not receiving the response he hoped for, he started Untied.com to protest United and to create a place for others to voice their frustrations with United Airlines.

There are a number of unique features to Untied.com. One includes a complaint form that posts the complain on the website’s forum for the world to read and archives it by month and year. However the coolest part of this complaint form is that it actually sends it to United customer’s complaint department and forwards it to the CEO and the Director of Customer relations!

“The difference between ‘United’ and ‘Untied’ is where you put the i.”   More

{UNTIE AND UNITE}  A personal blog.untie-knot

While extremely entertaining, this wordsmith’s journey in search of the “i” flipping phenomena came up short in providing a substantive explanation.

And, as for the University campus postings, I learned on Friday that:

The “Unite” ticket won the 2013 race for tri-executives of the University of Colorado’s student government by a mere 22 votes over the opposing “Inspire” ticket, according to preliminary results late Thursday.

Unite’s platform was centered on representing the interests of many diverse groups on the campus.

One has to wonder what might have happened if the opposing ticket chose to name themselves “Untie” instead of “Inspire”…??!!  And that leads me to wonder, as well, what would they have done if the race ended in a “tie”?

© 2013 EMCarlock
The Write Resources, LLC™ – www.the-write-resources.com

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