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The Power of Words: A Vocabulary Lesson Satoris S. Culbertson Kansas State University “Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill” ~ Fake Buddha Quote We probably all have a class from college that stands out more than others in terms of its impact on us. Whether it be because of the content, the professor, or something else, it's one that you think back on more frequently and perhaps recall details from more easily. For me, this class was Ancient Rome. Thinking back on this class, taught by Dr. Peter Viscusi, it is easy for me to see why it stands out so vividly in my mind. Not only was the content fascinating to me, but the way in which it was presented was nothing short of spectacular. Dr. Viscusi, able to paint the most brilliant pictures through only the use of words, took me on a weekly basis to a time and place I couldn't have imag- ined on my own. I never once heard the man lecture. Rather, I heard him tell stories in a way that captured the very essence of the people and the time period, and demonstrated to me the true power of words. Indeed, when he spoke of the great orators of the time—Cicero, Caesar, Marcus Antonius—I understood why and how those individuals could be so powerful simply through their words and prose. This was, of course, because Dr. Viscusi was, and is, one of the great orators of my time. The ability to use words with such precision and pur- pose is one I greatly admire. On a scale from Oswald Bates, the character portrayed by Damon Wayans in the sketch comedy show In Living Color who would use incorrect words (or words that don't exist) in all the wrong places, to Cicero, arguably one of the greatest orators of all time, I'm somewhere near Stoney from Encino Man. That is, I get my point across, but it's not 134 April 2014 Volume 51 Issue