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  • Brian Lehman


If you have been reading my other blog posts up to this point then you have probably realized this is not the kind of blog where you expect to actually learn something . . . well not directly at least. As a former educator I know that a lot of learning happens accidentally when you least expect it. So my expectation for people who read this is they will be mildly amused, somewhat entertained and maybe even learn a little something when they least expect to.

This time around I'd like to explore the word expect. As you may have come to expect by this time, I probably have more to say about it than you ever thought possible. Basically, what a person expects is what they predict or think will happen or what they think they will see or hear. For example, if you visited an art museum you would probably expect to see various styles of paintings and sculptures. While you were there if you witnessed giant tentacles come crashing through the ceiling, wrapping around people and pulling them back up through the hole screaming, you would undoubtedly be shocked because you never expected to see such a thing at the art museum, or anywhere else. If you later found out it was all part of some extreme outlandish art project, you would probably be relieved. Then later, say several years down the road, if some ghastly extraterrestrials invaded Earth and began reaching their tentacles down to the surface and grabbing people, you would probably just laugh because of your previous experience. You would expect to learn shortly that it was all part of some elaborate artistic presentation.

So, we all go through life expecting things to be a certain way or for events to unfold in a particular manner. When life takes unexpected turns, our expectations are not met and this can be very disconcerting. Which brings me to a way that we use the word expecting that seems very odd to me. When a woman is pregnant, you often hear people say she is expecting. Why exactly did that expression ever come into use. Because she is expecting to have a baby? Or did she not think she would get pregnant and now she expects she is? Or is it because she had no idea she would have morning sickness but now she expects to puke in the mornings? Or maybe she is thinking ahead and she is now expecting to spend and huge amount of her time, money and energy raising a child and being a mother for the rest of her life. So, the next time you see a pregnant woman who says she is expecting you may be tempted to say, "What exactly do you mean?" Then she can look at you as though you have tentacles and wonder if you are just trying to be funny or if you are some kind of simpleton for saying such a stupid thing..

Well, as you may have now learned, expectations can be more complicated than you probably expected them to be in the past. I expect some of you may now be wondering about just what goes on in this brain of mine that makes me want to delve into the various oddities of how words are used in the English language. I cannot really shed any light on that wondering, and I expect there is really no way to understand it.

Brain Matter from Brian

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