Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A Word on Wednesday: Similarities

Differences are easy to see. Any child can circle the six things different on the second adjacent picture. Yet, the same game player overlooks all that is the same. 

I'm not suggesting a place where we are cloaked in sameness. Accept and promote diversity, but rather than focusing on what is different, look for the similarities. 

The plural noun, similarities, captures the likeness and resemblance that exist, the traits and aspects that are reflected from one to another. 

In a place rooted in common ground, it is easy to focus on similarities rather than that which divides. 

William Shakespeare's eternal truism regarding this was written more than four hundred years ago in "The Merchant of Venice." 

"If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?" (Act III, scene I)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Word on Wednesday: Poppycock

"Poppycock" can pack a punch. Once the shock of the hard sound passes, the perfectly acceptable word is amusing. The common noun simply means nonsense or, to put it another way, bosh. The Brits might say rubbish or, more daringly, balls. 
In the mid 1800s, Americans coined "poppycock" likely from the Dutch pappekak. As an amateur entomologist, I believe it translates from the Dutch pappe (soft food) and Dutch kak (derived from Latin for dung) to mean soft poop or, more bluntly, bullshit.  

Despite this comical, somewhat vulgar examination, "poppycock," passes as an innocent, playful word. It is as clean and refreshing as the tulip fields of the Netherlands.  

Senior Editor Nicki Porter used the word "poppycock" in the opening column of the August 2017 issue of The Writer. In the next sentence, she confessed how ridiculous the word looked on the page, but maintained no other word would have sufficed to make her point. 
I rarely come across the word "poppycock" in reading or in conversation. I was mildly delighted to see it in print. Porter's column defended memoir as a relevant genre despite rampant attacks of the art form.  She called "poppycock" on the critics.  

I agree with Porter, sometimes, "poppycock" is the best word to call out crap. "Poppycock" has just the right air of condescension. In other times, a quiet hogwash, a firm bunk, or, an equally ridiculous, balderdash might do. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Word on Wednesday: Passioneer

The noun passion is a strong emotion or feeling most often associated with lust and desire.
The suffix -eer originally occurred in loanwords from the French (buccaneer and pioneer) and productive in the formation of English nouns denoting persons who produce, handle, or are otherwise significantly associated with the referent of the base word (auctioneer; engineer.)

Passioneer is a word I concocted to describe people with an overzealous passion for seemingly innocuous objects.

Consider these hyperbole: 

- I am PASSIONATE about strawberries.
- I am PASSIONATE about breastfeeding.
- I am PASSIONATE about tennis.
- I am PASSIONATE about decorating.

Variations in career planning: 

- Helping people is my PASSION!
- Training horses are my PASSION!
- Food trucks are my PASSION! 
-Fitness is my PASSION!

I try to override my cynical side, but its familiar biting wit is hard to suppress. The word passioneer is my response to the overuse/misuse of the word passion. It's a joke I make with myself. 

The 1995 movie "French Kiss" was one of five VHS tapes I owned. My favorite line was stated by bad boy character "Luc" played by Kevin Kline, "People who say they are happy make my ass twitch." 

I find passioneers not quite ass-twitch worthy, but rather deserving of a smug eye roll. It makes more sense, for me, to find purpose over passion and to be tenacious rather than passionate.