This week's question:
"Is there anything easier done than said?"
-Lisa, Ft. Worth, TX
This question places "done" against "said" in regards to "anything," Lisa, and I like it. We have to consider, however, whether this question is meant to be taken absolutely literally, or with respect and regard for our culture's assumed understanding of the statement, and because of this discrepency, the question is somewhat unanswereable.
Look: With "done," things are pretty obvious, I think. To "done" something, one has to perform the act of doing it, one has to complete the task. So if the "anything" is purchasing a puppy, than to "done" it, one would exchange currency or credit for a dog. If the person does not (a) spend money, or (b) receive a dog for the money, than they have not "done" the "anything."
With "said," things are a little less obvious, and we could go in two directions, and this is where the outcome can change, based upon our definitions of the question.
1) "Said" can mean the physical, vocal-chord-vibrating act of making the phrase "I want to buy a puppy" come from a body, regardless of whether anybody is within hearing distance, and regardless of whether anybody understands the phrase.
2) "Said" can mean the act of communicating the idea "I want to buy a puppy" to another person who understands the statement.
One (1) is somewhat interesting, in that it highlights the basic fact that talking or vocalizing or creating speech is by no means simple. Before language, in fact, everything was easier to do than say. And for a baby who can't speak, everything is easier to do than say. If you're old or incapable of speech or in possession of a speech disorder, than most things may be very difficult to communicate to another person, and instead of saying "I ne-ne-ne-ne-ne-need th-the c-c-ca-ca-c-cat-c-ca-c-cat-cat-cat-catsup" you might as well just get up and get the fucking ketchup.
Two (2), however, is, in my opinion, a more thought-provoking definition of "said." Two (2) suggests that another person has to understand that you are saying "I want to buy a puppy." So if I were in Italy, I'd have to know Italian, or I would have to learn to conjugate the verb "to want"; the verb "to buy"; the noun "puppy." And some Italian-speaker would have to understand me when I said this.
Two (2) is also concerned with how difficult it is for me to peat the phrase. A person's comfort in speaking is related to their confidence in speech and their audience. Am I comfortable saying "I want to buy a puppy?" or would it be easier, insofar as I'll have to teach myself Italian and be confused, to just go out and buy the puppy and not talk about it? If, for instance, the "done" is having sex with twelve people at once, and the "said" is talking about having sex with twelve people at once, to a group of four young girls, in front of their mother, in church
, then it would probably be easier to just do it, because the discomfort and embarrassment in talking about it in that particular setting would be more emotionally taxing than the act of having sex with twelve people would be physically taxing.