War of the Words

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#265: “War of the Words”
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20: A Journey of Choices
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Proverbs 21:23

23He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.

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“War of the Words” is episode #265 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written by Marshal Younger, and originally aired on April 23, 1994.


A carelessly uttered word from Eugene creates havoc as it becomes the fashionable insult for the kids in Odyssey.


Henry and Charles are eavesdropping on one of Connie and Eugene’s more lively “discussions.” Their ears especially prick up when they hear Eugene tell Connie her “choices have left her somewhat...maladroit.” Neither Connie, Henry, nor Charles knows what maladroit means. Henry and Charles (who think Eugene said “millijoint”) think Eugene used a dirty word.

Whit breaks up the disagreement. Connie and Eugene go their separate ways, and Henry suddenly has a new “bad” word to use. He uses it with increasing regularity and mispronounces the word until it becomes “milajoit.” Unfortunately, he refers to the local librarian in this manner. The librarian responds by calling his parents.

Henry’s dad demands to know where Henry heard such a word. When Henry finally reveals that he heard it at Whit’s End, his father grounds him from the emporium. When Whit hears about this situation, he corners Charles and asks where he and Henry originally heard the word. Charles points the finger at Eugene. Eugene denies ever having said such a word as “milajoit.” They all finally arrive at the truth, but by then, the damage is done. Henry’s dad thinks Whit's End is a place where kids learn bad words. Whit is grieved. He pays a visit to Henry’s dad to explain and apologize. Everyone learns an important lesson about the power of words, and that it's not so much the words you use, but how you mean them that counts.

This plot section is too short and should be expanded. »

Discussion Questions

  1. Should Henry and Charles have listened to Connie and Eugene’s argument?
    • Was it Eugene’s fault that the boys overheard what they thought was a bad word?
      • Why or why not?
  2. Why did the boys think “maladroit” was a bad word?
    • If you heard a word you didn’t know the meaning of, what would you do?
  3. Why is it wrong to say bad words?
    • What does the Bible say about the words we use?
  4. Why do you think name calling isn't nice?
    • Have you called somebody a mean name?
      • Why or why not?


Heard in episode

Role Voice Actor
Charles Thompson Mark Shillinger
Connie Kendall Katie Leigh
Dudley Chris Berg
Eugene Meltsner Will Ryan
Henry Thomas Andrew Gillespie
John Whittaker Hal Smith
Librarian Unknown
Rusty Gordon (Malone) Shawn Svoboda
Mr. Thomas Bill Pomeroy

Mentioned in episode

Character Mentioned By
Robert Skeed Dudley


VERSION DIFFERENCE: [view] The broadcast version of this episode included a “Fun Fact” about Officer David Harley.

  • This was the last episode that Hal Smith recorded before he died.
  • Writer Marshal Younger commented on this show: “This show was a challenge to write. It was difficult to show the folly of using bad words without actually using bad words. I spent half the time writing this script just trying to come up with the right made-up bad word. I had some pretty good ones, but I finally ended up with ‘milajoit.’”
  • The title of this episode is a play off the title of the story War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells.
  • The elusive Robert Skeed is once again heard (of) in this episode. Skeed was named after a writer friend of Marshal Younger's, who sometimes critiqued his work, and who helped to give him the idea for Kidsboro.
  • Eugene remarks that "just last week, I re-calibrated my barometer to study what the effect would be if the Earth's atmosphere were made up of three percent nitrogen instead of four." The earth's atmosphere is 78% nitrogen, not 4%. Surely Eugene should know that! Although this could be explained by Eugene re-calibrating his barometer from 78% down to 4% before re-re-calibrating it down to 3%.


Henry Thomas: Ready for the test?
Charles Thompson: I think so, but I’m a little fuzzy on the French and Indian war.
Henry Thomas: That is the test, Charles.
Charles Thompson: Oh, then I guess I’m not as ready as I thought.

Eugene Meltsner: Your choices have left you somewhat... maladroit.
Connie Kendall: What?! What did you call me?
Charles Thompson: Uh oh!
Henry Thomas: What did he call her?
Charles Thompson: I think he called her a malatroid.