Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Something uniquely personal.

Yesterday I was doing my usual thing. Chatting it up a bit at usual places. Avoiding the kitchen for some reason, most likely the heat. I'm just flat not into cooking right now for awhile and especially not making messes that I must clean up myself. I'd rather somebody else do all that. It's a phase.

My backpack is already filled with two large Philadelphia style cheese and steak sandwiches, and from the corner bodega a large prepared salad and a half gallon of milk. So there is not enough room in the backpack for a 12-pack of Coke. That must be carried separately back home. The whole thing is an experiment in carrying things. The experiment went poorly. The effort needs work.

Everyone at the bottle shop, the last stop, are newly employed there. Lurch is gone and it's taken three people to replace him. I sign the electronic charge pad on its slippery surface inside its tiny frame, the whole thing is bogus and a poor way to sign things. My signature slags off to mere scribble.

"Oh Jeeze. My signature gets worse every year."

I always say that. It's the charge card pad, not my handwriting deteriorating, but I blame myself anyway just to be conversational.
"That's okay. It's not important. The more idiosyncratic the better. That's what thing looks at." 
How odd. I had just used that word on my last post elsewhere.

"Well, look at you."
"What?"
"Idiosyncratic." As if that were an unusual word. Because it is an unusual word heard in that shop in that situation.
"Hey, I may be just a liquor store clerk but that doesn't mean I can't read my Word-A-Day calendar." 
The idea struck me as hilarious. Is he joking or what? No, he's serious. I was not expecting anything so funny. The image of this young man learning words from a calendar, opposed to, say, reading, then using newly found words conversationally was exquisitely amusing. And charming. I chuckled at that the rest of the way home. Somebody gave him the calendar and he actually uses it.

I thought you might like this. It seems to me such a calendar would be cute and rather useless to you. To all of you. The sort of thing a friend or family might give you thinking, "Oh, they like words so they'll certain to like this word calendar." Not quite understanding, and no arrogance intended here, you could easily write such a calendar.

11 comments:

ricpic said...

Actually, I could kick myself around the block for all the times I heard a discussion in which a word I only vaguely understood was used and I made a resolution to look it up and memorize it when I got home and of course never did. There are literally hundreds such words that if I'd followed through on that resolution I'd be like a credentialed somebody now instead of a.........

edutcher said...

Don't bust his chops.

I learned by reading the dictionary every day when I was in 4th grade.

He has more initiative and intellectual curiosity than Barry Ozero.

Amartel said...

Maybe he reads this blog.

Amartel said...

Or whatever it is we call this idiosyncratic thing.

Chip Ahoy said...

No chop busting. Rather, the exchange was charming.

It forced me to recall my own parents who tried so hard to find a gift I would like. They say Dad's are sometimes impossible to find presents for, but that applies to their children as well.

They were so pleased to have found a picture book on Egyptian history. It had everything in it. It seemed. There was no way for them to know it was written as introduction. I had already seen every single picture in it at least a hundred times over decades. I had already started studying their flatly dead language. There was no way for them to know any of that. They never did understand my own derived art, and they said so.

Another time my sister and her son found the perfect pop-up book for me. And they were so perfectly well chuffed at finding it. Smiles and grins all around. And it really is a good one, "Heroes and Gods." The perfect gift. I didn't have the heart to tell them I already have it. Bought it on preorder. I re-gifed their book, all shiny and new, man, I hated letting go of the thing, and the person who received it TOTALLY LOVED IT! A boy, who slept with book and took it to his school for show and tell. His mum told me that nobody ever gave him a book.

So that one worked out very well.

A girlfriend did give me a word-a-day calendar decades ago. I flipped through the whole thing in one sitting. While it was still useful as calendar at work. People at work liked it. They did the same thing, they incorporated the words into their conversational English as the words came up day by day.

The funniest word was "pellucid." They found a million ways to misuse the word.

The second funniest word was "gelid."

"Why not say "very cold" or "freezing?"

"Because it's very very very cold, three verys, and it suggests wetness, with ice floating around in chunks, and right at the point of your own body crystallizing. Gelid is tortuously wet and cold. That's why."

"Oh."

So everything was geld thereafter, where cold and freezing will do. Just to exaggerate and just to force-fit and wedge "gelid" into every possible spot.

This just reminded me of my favorite most fun secretary ever.

Dr. Fred did better with "The Grand Panjandrum." But the weirder the word is then the less useful it is too. The book has one review on Amazon. The reviewer singles out, nonpareil, and heuristic.

Nonpareil we know from French and from small silver decorative candy ballbearings that nobody likes on their cupcakes. They're a lady thing. Probably. Who knows?

And heuristic we know from hanging around political sites, always interested in confronting how we know what we know and from discussions on programming.

Still, a fun book.

Trooper York said...

The thing about this blog is that the commenters are uniformly very intelligent people. We don't suffer fools here. So you can talk about stuff without having to dumb it down the way you needed to do over at some other places I could name.

We don't have much trolling either which is also a pleasure.

It is a function of our limited appeal. If you go back to the first days of this blog you had many contributors who have fallen away. We have winnowed the flock to the prime. I think that is a good thing but everyone has to make up their own mind.

Trooper York said...

One of the things I am cursed with is that I am quite self aware. So I know I am an arrogant prick. A New York Blowhard Bullshit Artist as brother Spinelli might opine.

So I very seldom meet someone whose opinion I respect. I mean I respect people who obviously have a field of expertise and would not dare to contradict them in their chosen field. I would listen respectfully to AllenS talk about military service or chickenlittle talking about chemistry or Titus talking about being a faggot. All things I know nothing about. But as a general rule I think I know more about everything because I have read about it. No matter what that might be.

Still I respect and admire people who want to improve themselves and a word a day is a great idea. I mean I learned all of that for the SAT but hey we all go at our own speed. More power to this kid. Bless his heart.

(I am getting us to speaking Southern for my move to Florida)

Rabel said...

I was in the sauna with a midget today. Weird thing is, he had one of the private lockers which you pay extra for which means he is a member at the gym and probably a regular and yet I had never seen him before.

It's not like that I would have forgotten him. I mean, how many naked midgets do you see everyday.

Little Dude was pumped. A set of guns I'd be proud of.

Also, the private lockers are full length which means that the top half was out of his reach. Seemed a little sad.

edutcher said...

Chip Ahoy said...

No chop busting. Rather, the exchange was charming.

Wasn't sure.

Mea culpa.

Trooper York said...

I remember when there was a perverted Irish midget who came into O"lunney's one night.

Why was he perverted.

He kissed everyone in the joint.

Trooper York said...

That was a joke from the first season of NYPD Blue.