Useless–Or Not

I’ll tell you, this “Shelter-in-place” thing doesn’t keep a person very busy. I mean, sure, I could clean house–but I’m not that desperate.

Anyway, I’ve done a fair amount of light reading lately. In one story, a character complained that someone else was “as useless as the ‘g’ in lasagna.” Which gave me a laugh — I’d never heard that one before.

But then I got to thinking (shelter-in-place also lends itself to thinking)… Is the ‘g’ in lasagne really useless? After all, you don’t pronounce it.

Normally, the purpose of each letter letter in the alphabet is to represent one (or more) sounds in speech. But not always! In Italian words like ‘lasagne,’ the ‘g’ tells you to pronounce the ‘n’ differently: ‘n-e’ is pronounced ‘nyeh’ instead of ‘neh.’ The ‘gn’ is like the ‘ñ’ in Spanish.

We need silent letters in English, too. They let us distinguish between ‘pane’ and ‘pan’; ‘dime’ and ‘dim.’

Then I got to thinking (on about the third cup of coffee) about other things that seem useless because they don’t serve what we think of as their normal function. Or because we don’t like them.

Say your car breaks down [or in my case, more likely an appliance] and needs repair. This huge inconvenience might just keep you off the road long enough to avoid a serious traffic accident. Or the repair process could even bring some important contact or relationship into your life.

And what about the student with some physical handicap that keeps him from excelling at a sport he loves? I’m sure we have all heard stories about that one kid who serves on the support / equipment / water boy squad. Rather than look down on him for his lack of athletic talent, the jocks come to love and appreciate him. He elevates the whole team by inspiring their understanding, humility, and compassion.

Setbacks and frustrations may seem useless–just a waste of time and energy. But I have it on excellent authority that nothing can thwart God’s good purpose for you.

As near as I can figure, since God wastes nothing, we shouldn’t dismiss any experience as “useless.”

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have this sudden urge to go make lasagne.

Thanks for reading,


About Jan C. Johnson

Welcome! If you like food, reading, laughing over life's little disasters, and maybe thinking about the bigger things of life, you have come to the right place. Besides blogging, I write humorous fiction, though real life tends to leave fictional humor in the shade. But I'm not a total goofball. No, really. I'm also working on a biography project. I live in North Texas with my husband, Brent. We enjoy bicycling, Mexican food, and traveling to visit our kids and grandkids.
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5 Responses to Useless–Or Not

  1. Anonymous says:

    That Lasagna idea sounds good Just leave out the g and see what happens.
    Love you, Looking forward to seeing you all. Mom

    Liked by 1 person

  2. DONNA L PRICE says:

    Excellent point. Love your joke about the “g”.


  3. davidtripp says:

    Excellent read! I have enjoyed the sheltering-in-place that has been forced on us. I seem to have hit a snag on blogging, but nevertheless I have taken advantage of reading like never before. Hopefully the creative eros will rise again soon . . .

    Liked by 1 person

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