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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Word Flow


Which is more pretentious, to say, “en hommage a,” or “with a tip of the hat to?” One’s French, the other one smacks of smug British intellectuals. It’s a tough call. So this post is en hommage a, and with a stylistic tip of the cap to – Dan O’Sullivan.

There – that’s enough pretention to make Mother Teresa want to punch me in the nose. (I know I want to.)

So I was sitting at the bus station last night, and somebody handed me a couple of brownies. I took out my battered laptop and started writing. I felt strange – free – not nearly as pissed at the world as I usually feel.
I like brownies. Brownies are good. Here’s what appeared on my scratched and grubby screen.

The Flow of Words

I love words like onomatopoeia. Sure it doesn’t sound like what it is, but what the heck – it’s rhythmic – though it does sound like a place you get lunch out of vending machines. Most words are utilitarian, like they came out of the snack machine of word formation to add empty calories to our vocabulary. Words like onomatopoeia are lyrical. They are crafted for form as well as function.

Whoops – got a little artsy there.
Existential is a crafted word. It’s so special that people use it all the time without having a clue what it means. I don’t mean just stupid people. I don’t think Camus or Sartre understood the word Existential any more than Thoreau or Emerson understood Transcendental.

Now I’m sounding philosophical. I think I need a beer. Maybe I should order a pizza. Anybody got ten bucks?

But what I’m saying is… who really gives a Flying Wallenda what some words really mean? There are words that are fun to say and should be said in blissful ignorance just to hear them fly by our ear lobes.

PhalaropesExpeditiousOccidental! (Wheeeeeeeeeee!)

Sometimes they come in pairs. I remember the first time I heard my brother talk about Woofers and Tweeters. Of course I giggled. I thought he was talking dirty. It turned out he was just being an… audiophile. (I like the sound of that!)

Warp and woof is another good pair. It makes my bed sheet sound like it’s woven out of Star Wars characters.

Excrement is a crappy word. Elimination was much more pleasant until American Idol ruined it.

Olfactory should be one of the good ones, but something about it just doesn’t smell right.

Abbreviation seems like an unusually long word for what it means.

Interrogative makes me think of ogres beating me with clubs. I guess I don’t like being questioned.

Interjection sounds like an act of stabbing.

Damn straight!” says the drunk looking over my shoulder. I gotta find someplace better to write.

What is a participle, and why does it only seem to live in the past? Who can tell me (without looking it up) the difference between transitive and intransitive? You won’t answer? You’re just being intransigent - or maybe you're like me.  You looked it up and still have no idea.

Do you think this post is abnormal? We can’t always be normal.

Does it sound absurd? How do we make it more surd?

Is it abstract? How do we make it more stract?

Do you feel abused? Would you rather feel used?

If I surrender Dorothy, am I not also rendering Dorothy? I think I need my prefixes fixed.

Don’t worry about the tense or the intent. If you feel intensely, your meaning will be intelligible.

Who cares what words mean? Just let them flow.

Mellifluously, meandering, leaving behind the correct change only miasma of snack machine vocabulary.