Monday, March 29, 2010

Playing With Words

I love playing with words, with language, and for some reason I find it to be very funny. Usually more funny than the people around me do. I’m sure this post will be another example of that. But there is an irony to how words are so important and yet aren’t. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent so much time studying words and language, I don’t really know, but this stuff even gets into my dreams sometimes.

One night I dreamt I was in ancient Rome. I was standing on some huge portico with miles of giant steps leading up to it, just finding myself there for some unknown reason, hearing people talking all around me. In my dream I was looking for someone or something, I don’t really know what. Then I saw, a short distance away, wearing a toga and everything, my friend Justin Quick. And Quick is a good name for him. He’s quick to care. Quick to help. Quick to show kindness. He’s great. But I have no idea why he was in my dream. So I called out to him and, no kidding, without a single thought, my dream self shouted out, “Justinian Quickenus! Justinian Quickenus!” He turned to me and started walking towards me and that’s when I woke up. Laughing. I literally made myself laugh in my sleep with my insane dream.

I told Justin about this dream. I think it just confirmed my weirdness. What can one think about such dreams?

But it doesn’t stop with the dreams. I have a phrase I use for my daughters. They are “Beauteous Maximus.” Sometimes they are “Smucha Muchas” or “Shweety Hearts.” Our house is “The Humble Abode.” I do things that aren’t very “pastorly,” and the lifestyle my wife and I live with three kids and too much going on is “coitus interruptus.”

Go ahead. Laugh at me if you want. I can take it.

But seriously. Don’t you find words to be funny? And some words are just weird. The word “the” for instance. The? Who came up with that? Why is a knife called a nyf? Back in the day it was a knyf, but we didn’t like the k in there, so we just dumped it. And I’m sure someone knows why, but if we knew it wouldn’t be as funny.

Or how about how doctors put the suffix -itis on things to make you feel like they’ve really told you something? Laryngitis, Appendicitis, Sinusitis, etc. etc. The suffix -itis simply means “irritating” or “irritated.” Isn’t that helpful? How about “Eyebrowitis” or “Mykiditis?”

This is all just the tip of the iceberg. No wonder communication is so hard. I just thank God for words like love and forgiveness. Without them this world would be all nonsense.

Peace to you.

© LW Publishing 2010


  1. Another funny thing about words is how if you say one enough times in a row, you feel like it isn't even real. Henry, Henry, Henry, Henry, Henry, it's just weird.

  2. My kids know how weird I am. In fact, I just called our oldest Beauteous Maximus yesterday...not kidding. She had to ask K if it was true, and then asked for the definitions of both words.

  3. If I say it enough times it isn't real?? Let's try this one: taxes, taxes, taxes, taxes, taxes, taxes, taxes, taxes, taxes, taxes, taxes, taxes, taxes . . . I don't think it's working.

  4. Sometimes old disease names are funny, e.g. dropsy, consumption

    'coitus interruptus' positively ribald! Whatever ribald's kind of a funny word too I guess

  5. That dream made me laugh too. Totally crazy stuff.

  6. I'm pleased that you don't find my farcical vociferations universally reprehensible my good man.

  7. Can we please start talking with words that are too big to be really used in every day conversation?? That would be grand.

  8. I'm voting that we're all required by law to keep dictionaries in our pockets to help us find multi-syllabic words for casual conversation.


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