The language of Cahillism: The understanding of my writing and a greater understanding for one another

I am a list maker. It is how I keep track of my daily events. Either I write them on scrap paper or post it note. I write down my list and cross it off as I finish it. When I do laundry, I find old post it notes that have scribble like read ch.12 or buy milk.

Sometimes I mentally make list in my head. It is like the Google Glass my thoughts become a bullet points that appear in front of me. Either way I need my lists because it is how I stay on task during the day.

Plus it is a nice way to show that I completed something on a certain day. For example, I got bored and lazy during winter break. To stay active, I would mentally write, “take out the trash.” Regardless on how lazy I was that day, I was able to tell myself, “well at least I took out the trash.” It’s sort of a way to tell myself that I made a contribution to the society in some small way.

The thing with my list making, like a lot of accommodations, I do it because it works specifically for me. As a result, I can short hand notes, draw pictures or what ever helps me to remember a task. It is sort of my own language, Cahillism or MattHill (the term is still a work in progress). Now this becomes problematic when people are not use to or have not learned my language like my parents.

Last weekend, I was getting ready to start my spring semester at Temple University. My parents were going grocery shopping and asked if I wanted any food for school. Not wasting an opportunity for free food, I told them I would write a list of things I need/what. After I jotted down a few items I left for a run.

When I came back, my parents were couponing and asked me to come over. I was thinking that they needed the trash taken out or to clean out the fridge but neither. When I entered the dining room, they asked me to decrypt the items I listed. The dining room felt like an excavation site and they asked the expert of this ancient language, me, to translate the ancient civilization writing. They waited edgily to learn what was written for the world to know. In this case what did this Great Matt Cahill ask  for at the grocery store? It was not that exciting but if I wanted food, I needed to tell them what I wrote.

Some of the items on the list read like this:

  • Ravzor
  • Gatoraid
  • Totaliny

Now the first two items I listed I got right away. It was razors and Gatorade. The third item took a minute to realize I meant tortellini. I know you and my parents might of been thinking was, “Matt you were way off in the spelling.” And…yes I was in the “English Language” but I was writing this in as if I was the only audience. As a result, I was able to figure out what I meant perfectly fine but my parents did not. I was shocked that after 20 years they did not learn Cahillism (my language). They made a big fuss in me learning the English language it is only fair if they learned mine haha!

If the story has a happy ending it’s this. I got the tortellini or totaliny depending on what language you use. But I learned that list or what ever method helps you remember is good just make sure that other people can understand it as well just in case. You never know it could be a matter of life or death. Now Post it notes have not come out with spell check yet so I am going to spell words the best way I can. But if I give someone a list in the future, I am going to make sure that they can understand. So with every list I give, I would either draw pictures or provide a Cahillism to English translator.

I like to think of it as a game of Pictionary for people just to keep entertained with my writing because at the end of the day, I am going to spell things wrong. Its just a given. But by providing pictures, I can provide people an avenue to understand my writing and me and I hope they do the same for me. If we try to understand one another in turn we will have a greater respect for each other and the world we live in.

Until next time,





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