There aren’t many words in the English language I’d consider ruined but “precious” is one of them. I will never – and I mean never – see or hear it without hearing The Lord of the Rings’ Gollum hissing “my precious…”

Yeah, that was the angry one. It was the shortest clip. Sue me.

Then there was that movie Precious that came out in 2009. It was about a 16-year-old girl named Precious who endured physical, verbal, and sexual abuse for years and how she turns her life around. The movie received six Academy Award nominations and was lauded as a must see movie. Except I couldn’t go. Not to the theater, not to the second run theater, I couldn’t even play the darn thing once it started streaming on Amazon. It just looked too hard and I didn’t have the emotional bandwidth to handle it.

Maybe one of these days.

Then there are those Precious Moments collectibles. My apologies if this is your jam but their big doe-eyed features, cutesy putesy poses, and over the top adorableness is too much for me. Plus there are those recurring nightmares about dusting the display at Hallmark in college…

Precious, precious…what else have we got with precious?

Precious gemstones. That always struck me as repetitive. I mean, isn’t the very definition of a gemstone something of great value? I’m not googling the definition so maybe not; maybe it was just my impression.

Well, that baby is TOO precious! Such a southern grandma thing to say.

I’ve found that precious cuts two very different ways and it all rests in the tone. Grandma’s loving comment is 100% sincere – that baby is indeed precious in every way. A priceless blessing and adorable beyond words. Both. But put the word precious in, say, my 12-year-old’s mouth and it’s equally likely to come out with attitude. Well, isn’t THAT precious. Most likely about something decidedly not precious at all.

Linda hosts Stream of Consciousness Saturdays. This week’s prompt is “precious. Use it any way you like.”