I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Reader’s Digest’s “It Pays to Increase Your Word Power” for as long as I’ve read the magazine, a time that dates back to my pre-teens. I love testing my vocabularic (a word you won’t find in the magazine) prowess and I hate it that I always get a one or two wrong. I am fairly confident that sometime in my life I must have earned a 100%
on their little quiz but I cannot remember the actual event (which does not mean it did not happen—I don’t remember leaving the engine running in the Wal-Mart parking lot either and that certainly did happen) and I want to be able to state, with certainty, that I aced their test. After all, life is the stories you can tell. So every month, without fail, I take the test and without fail, I fail to get 100%.
June’s edition featured the most frequently searched words on the Merriam-Webster website in 2012. The list started with “paradigm”. YES!! “Paradigm shift” was a catch phrase in my 20’s (which was NOT in the 1920’s!!); I knew that word. One for one; I was on a roll! “Malarkey”, “ubiquitous” and “hypocrite” were easy though “louche” gave me pause—louche people should give you pause too—but I choose the correct answer. Being “didactic” is natural for me; naturally I got it right. Getting “abeit” and “holistic” correct led me to “insidious”, “camaraderie” and “touché”. Eleven of eleven correct and going strong! “Conundrum” wasn’t a conundrum and “pragmatic” is my way of life. “Esoteric” wasn’t easy but arcane was
the only plausible choice. Nailing it! Fourteen of fourteen right; only one word left for the ace. Then came “schadenfreude”. Noooooooooooooooooo! Who has heard of schadenfreude? Sadly, I have felt the emotion but, sadly, I had never heard the word. *** Foiled again!
I hunted for words during my interview with Doug Gibson and Andy Howell of the Standard Examiner editorial board. One would think that I would realize that, in an interview for a position on an editorial opinion board, I should be prepared to state my opinions. I was not. “What do you think are the important issues facing our community?” Hum….. “In your application letter you described yourself as a member of the ‘silent majority minority’. Can you give us an example of that?” Hum….. “Would you describe yourself as a Conservative or a Libertarian?” I did have an immediate response for that question; I said, “What is a Libertarian?” (Oh my!) Gratefully, I managed to find some opinions to share: teachers’ unions are the single, largest impediment to educational reform; affirmative action impoverishes potential (SORRY
Jennilyn!); big government is a BIG bad; and right and wrong are real (no Libertarianism for me).
I left the interview certain I’d blown it. That night, lying awake on my bed, words ran around in my head; words I
wished I would have said. (Rhyme not intentional, rhythm not existent). Opinions unshared, thoughts unspoken, and words unfound chased sleep away. I mourned the opportunity I’d lost; I could have been a voice for faith and family and I blew it.
In my prayers I promised God that, if He’d put me on the Board, I would stand for truth and righteousness. Then I gave the problem to Him. “It’s in thy hands now. If thou wouldst have me on the Board, thou wilt have to do something because the something I did will not get me there.”
The next day I got a phone call from Doug Gibson inviting me to attend
the Editorial Board’s next meeting; I am in!!!!!! [See associated article http://www.standard.net/stories/2013/05/24/open-minded-conservative-added-newspapers-editorial-board ]
Prayed words are powerful.
Since February I’ve been praying (even fasted twice) that Chick would get a summer job. He’s left applications, resumes, and cover letters at a fistful of places and filled out several figurative fistfuls of online applications. Four months, forty applications, zero call backs. ZERO. Why is it so hard for an upstanding young man to get a job?
Perhaps because getting a job is not in his best interest right now……
In the midst of job hunting Chick learned about the machinist program at Ogden/Weber Applied Technology Center (OWATC). Being a machinist will give him experience that will be invaluable as he pursues his mechanical engineering degree. Machinists earn $18-24/hour. With a machinist certification, he will be able to support himself through college. Most companies that hire machinists offer full tuition and textbook reimbursement for employees who pursue degrees in mechanical engineering. And, because he is still a high school student, the machinist program at the OWATC is free. He starts Tuesday and will attend classes six hours a day, five days a week, all summer. Next fall, he will go to machining classes from 6-9 p.m. He is excited.
I am amazed. I prayed for a minimum wage job and got a maximized opportunity.
Words can be fun.
Tanah bought a tank of gas for the family van and was commenting about the high cost of energy. Being didactic, I started a diatribe on wastefulness. “Now you know why I am always asking the family to turn off lights and shut doors; it is SO expensive and senseless to waste energy.” “I think I understand.” she said slyly, “You mean we shouldn’t do things
like leave the van running for an hour in the Wal-Mart parking lot?”
She thought she was funny. Me, not so much.
At her final band concert, Tanah was sitting four rows in front of us. When it came time to go on stage, anxious to get on stage, finding herself without pockets, and unwilling to leave her cell phone unattended, Tanah turned to a friend, pointed
to Lance, and asked him to give the phone to “that man sitting right back there.” The boy politely approached Lance and tried to hand him the phone. Lance haughtily refused the phone, telling the boy “I have never seen that girl before in my life.” The unfortunate young man beat a hasty retreat, leaving profuse apologies in his wake. Later the boy confronted Tanah saying, “I cannot believe you did that to me!” Tanah worked hard to convince him that Lance really was her father.
Lance thought he was funny. Tanah, not so much.
Some words are frightening, even alarming.
Thursday Chick was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. He was also diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHA)-predominately inattentive type.
I keep assessing myself to see how I feel about having an autistic child and I find no evidence of trauma. Nothing has changed about Chick. He is still my beloved absent minded professor whose zest for and enthusiasm about life thrills me. He is still the young man who daily tells me he loves me, who does not complain when I ask him (multiple times daily) to do this or that chore, whose strength is so great that I must ask him not to crush me during his frequent bear hugs, and whose intelligence awes his peers and instructors at Roy High School. He is still my Chick. The diagnosis simply means that we can get some help for him in areas where he may be lacking. For us, autism is not frightening or alarming.
Now I’ve used 1,246 words and it is time to stop.
Sure love you,
1. Paradigm: a pattern or archetype
2. Malarkey: foolish talk
3. Ubiquitous: found everywhere
4. Hypocrite: phony who acts counter to stated beliefs
5. Louche: of doubtful morals
6. Didactic: intended to teach
7. Albeit: even though
8. Holistic: involving the entire system
9. Insidious: treacherous
10. Camaraderie: good fellowship
11. Touché: “Good point”
12. Conundrum: riddle
13. Pragmatic: practical
14. Esoteric: arcane
(Arcane: known or understood by very few)
15. Schadenfreude: taking pleasure in another’s misfortune