Just killed a word.
Put a gun against its head,
Pulled my trigger, now it’s dead.
Apologies for messing with Freddie Mercury’s Bohemian Rhapsody, and anyway, that’s not what happened. The break-up came without my knowledge or approval. I killed nothing.
The truth: I lost a word today; don’t know how or why, or if this separation is final. I was taken aback; no foreshadowing. To borrow a line from the Dick Tracy comics I read as a boy: What the—?
If you saw my missing word, you’d think, What’s the big deal? But it means a lot to me, and I like having it around. I’d hoped to plant it—right about here—to give my writing some class. So already, I’m smarting from the loss, hoping I can locate it after a few more paragraphs or at least before I finish.
It’s my favorite word, you see, one I fling at my students to remind them they’re in college. It’s multisyllabic, I recall, and somewhat swanky, yet not pretentious or a gaudy word that would make you think I’m showing off. But using it makes me feel smart—and think that I sound smart.
I’m suffering now that my favorite word has fled like a lover tiptoeing out in the night, leaving no note, just a void and an impression in the pillow.
Oh, my favorite word, where have you gone?
Jewish Guilt rides me relentlessly over this, warning that if I don’t change my ways additional valued words will haul ass and walk out.
It’s your fault. A word doesn’t just vanish without a…well…a word. There has to be a reason. You must have done something to piss it off. You bozo, you must have misspelled it or used it in an ungrammatical sentence or as a verb when… quite clearly it’s a noun!
Aha, a clue. I now recall my missing word is a noun. Now we’re getting somewhere. And I do remember the word is about coming together, a union of some kind. Also, there’s a suffix, an osis. Psychosis? Fibrosis? Now I’m really lost.
And another thing...
That nag Jewish Guilt again.
What are you doing announcing this word is your favorite in the first place? What if your other words get wind? Egos bruise easily. There could be a mass exodus.
Right. I do have other favored words. What if they, too, vanish? Yikes! is one I use often.
Some would say too often.
Yes, all right, but I can’t resist. I’d be severely constrained without Yikes! An exclamation point but no word?
And talk about overkill, there’s your repeated reliance on Thornton Wilder’s Our Town as a metaphor. My God, man, throw in another play once in a while, if only to show you’re not totally illiterate.
So here I am, already well past the midpoint of this blog, and still no missing word, though I’ve showed I still care, allotting it this space just in case it shows up.
This is so frustrating. It’s one thing to lose a word the way we forget names. My recurring fear is going blank on names I should remember at some soiree and trying to finesse it (well, my friend, long time no see) while knowing they know I have no clue. I’ve been losing names for decades, however, so no big deal.
But losing a word is scarier with geezerhood galloping toward you like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Losing a word could be the first step; you know what I’m saying? Jewish Guilt may be on to something. Will other words soon abandon me like rats on a sinking ship. Will I soon be reduced to communicating like a broken-nosed gorilla in a gangster movie? Or as tersely as one of the cemetery dead in Our Town?
A friend assured me that losing a word is not necessarily calamitous. Gone for a day or two, even a week, not to worry, he said, “as long as you ultimately remember it.”
Yes, that’s the ticket. So I’ve been laser-focusing on ultimate recovery, trying out numerous word fusions and coming-together phrases to jumpstart my memory, poring over synonyms and this and that osis as fast as my fingers can Google, while also hitting Webster’s and my thesaurus.
And yes, it’s coming…it’s coming…the veil lifting. At last I have it. The elusive word is back—to stay, I hope. And just in time to crash my last sentence.
Yikes! Close call.
Jewish Guilt take a bow. Stormy, bickering adversaries in every way, we set aside our differences and collaborate when mutually beneficial. You might say, together we form a perfect symbiosis.