From The Hand of Fr. Aaron Ferris…August 6, 2017

Have you ever had that idea that keeps rolling around in your head, and you can’t get rid of it until you talk it out with someone? Well, it is your lucky day to be my audience for an idea that has little relevance to anything. Take this as an introduction to my neurotic curiosities.

A few days back there was a common turn of phrase in one of the readings at daily Mass that piqued my interest: pitched camp. There is nothing special about the phrase, but whenever I hear it I imagine someone taking a tent and chucking it across a campsite. Not only did that image come to mind, but it struck me how many different ways we use the word pitch and related words.

Many of the different words can be clumped together, such as using pitch to mean throw, as when a pitcher pitches a ball. In Britain, a field of play is also a called a pitch, the place where balls are thrown. If you really want to throw something, you get a pitchfork. If you are throwing out an idea for consideration, especially if you are trying to sell something, you are pitching that idea to someone else.

Another common use of the word pitch is in relation to sound, a high or low-pitched sound. If you are particularly bad at singing, you might be described as pitchy. This sense of intensity also comes out if you are worked up to a fever pitch. Pitch can also refer to the intensity of the slope of something, such as the pitch of a roof or the pitch of a plane (how much it is pointing up or down). Some of these ideas become combined, such as a boat that is being pitched about on the waves.

There is also the pitch that is the byproduct of petroleum that is used as a sealant. This meaning of pitch finds further use when describing a dark room as pitch black. Related to this is the pitch of trees that can be used as a sealant or adhesive.

Then there are some uses of the word that do not seem to have any relation to anything else, such as pitching camp, meaning to set up camp. One of the most common, though thoroughly unrelated, words is the pitcher from which we pour beverages. Finally, there is the picture that has nothing to do with any of this other than it sounds like some of the other words.

I told you my mind has some neurotic fascinations. How do you put some meaning to this craziness? You should thank God if English is your first language. I would hate to have to learn this language later in life. What is really sad/funny/neurotically interesting is that the following sentence makes good sense: Here is a picture of a fever pitched pitcher pitching a pitch-black pitcher on a pitched pitch. (Say that three times fast.) If you have learned English as a second language, may God bless you for putting up with the craziness of this hodgepodge of a language.

Rev. Aaron Ferris
Rev. Aaron Ferris
Rev. Aaron R. Ferris Ordination Date: June 6, 2009 Pastor, St. Anthony Parish (Saranac) and St. Mary’s Parish (Lowell) 402 Amity Street Lowell, MI 49331 Phone: 616-897-9820
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