“Miracle of Birth Occurs for 83 Billionth Time” – The Onion, 3/3/99
Merriam-Webster tenders the following three definitions of the word miracle: 1) an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs; 2) an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment; 3) a divinely natural phenomenon experienced humanly as the fulfillment of spiritual law.
It is only possible for an event to be proven miraculous using definition #2, yet I perpetually hear people pull the word out of their ass to describe such mundane and wholly believable events as coming from behind to win a football game, nabbing the last jelly donut from the lunch room, staying sober for 24 hours, and of course, having a baby. This is linguistic abuse, pure and simple. The word miracle has a very tenuous definition to begin with, but at this point it has been rendered utterly meaningless. Stop using it. Strike it from your vocabulary right now. If I can get through the next seven days without hearing anyone infusing daily affairs with the implication of divine intervention, I will consider it a true miracle.
Chances are I won’t see such a miracle come to fruition. And while that is disappointing, it certainly does not rise to the level of a nightmare. This is another word that has been beaten, battered and bludgeoned to death. Think about the most frightening dream you’ve had that you can call to memory. Did it have anything to do with waiting on line for an hour at the DMV? Having your flight delayed for a few hours on Thanksgiving? Realizing you have a pimple on the day you have to give a presentation at work? If so, you have an extraordinarily boring subconscious mind. I suggest that you start taking some risks in your life, thereby increasing the odds of having an experience that may be considered truly nightmarish.
Here is an image worthy of inhabiting your nightmares:
That was the aftermath of the Chicago St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, February 14, 1929. I hope that you and your sweetheart are celebrating your love in a manner so grand that it would have humbled even Al Capone.