Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Bradyphrenia and Other Simply Wonderful Words

Okay, so I finally have a diagnosis.  It's such a relief to have a name for this brain fog I often find myself in.   It's called Bradyphrenia, and it means "slowness of thought" or an intense hatred for Brady Bunch memorabilia.  And no, to all my friends and family, a triple shot iced breve latte doesn't help.  And this is not to be confused with Cacophrenia which means "bad or dysfunctional thinking."  My Bradyphrenia has been quite chronic lately,  especially on mornings when there is something I'm procrastinating.

And that leads me to another simply wonderful word, "procrastinate."  Did you know I looked that one up in my online thesaurus because "procrastinate" didn't rhyme in a poem I was writing and the app said this:  Fear of failure often causes people to procrastinate.  Now that's kind of personal, don't you think?  What the heck?  It's bad enough to get that condescending stare down from my cats when I stop writing early or walk away from a stack of editing, but now even my online thesaurus is judgmental.  I'm sure people stall, temporize and delay for many other reasons besides fear of failure, don't they?  What about alcoholism, insanity, boredom, a preference for another activity such as kite-making or just sheer laziness?  What if you find that oncoming activity completely revolting, like clipping your Aunt Ethel's toenails?  You'd put it off, wouldn't you?

Revolting.  There's another wonderful word.  I can't hear it enough.  In fact, I invent ways to use it every day, much to the chagrin of my husband.  "I find that television show absolutely revolting."  "Sorry about that smell in the basement.  I know it's revolting, but I'm out of fresh cat litter."  "Read my latest story.  It's revolting, isn't it?  You can be honest."  It's wonderfully interchangeable and Merriam Webster defines it as "extremely offensive."  That could be pretty much describe anything, from the revolting chili they serve at Denny's to the revolting comment that Howard Stern made.  Or the revolting song that Justin Bieber just recorded.  Or the revolting mess of thieves who run our government.  Or the line from the Mel Brooks movie, "The peasants are revolting!"  And the king's response to his minion (another good word, by the way), "They certainly are."  It's such fun, isn't it?

Cheese is a great word, and it's even more entertaining when its plural form is shouted as an expletive.  Just say "Cheeses!"  It kind of sounds like Jesus, doesn't it?  I like saying it in an exasperated and blasphemous tone around the religious-minded.

That reminds me of blasphemous.  It's a lovely word with power and bite.  You just can't use it in a sentence without making an impression.  Want to catch someone's attention and drive them crazy?  Next time you're walking out of the (fill in the blanks here with your favorite destination/entertainment spot, ie. liquor store, movie theater, pizza joint, nightclub, senior center, etc.), just inhale sharply, point back at the shop entrance and say to your friend, "Did you see that blasphemous sign?  I'll never come here again!"  My online dictionary says that blasphemous can be substituted for "execrate."

Execrate.  Now there's a word you can play with.  It means "to feel or express great loathing for."  Its archaic meaning is "to invoke a curse upon."  Now that's good stuff, all of the above.  Let's mix it up, shall we?  If you think the man who is lewdly hitting on you in the bar revolting (told you I'm a chronic abuser of that one), you could scare the bejesus out of him by   holding up two crossed swizzle sticks in front of you and say, "I hereby execrate you, oh heathen of Hades."  Or you could tell him you just finished a biopsy at the morgue, wipe your hands on a cocktail napkin, then say, " I truly execrate incising gangrenous flesh.  Could you  please smell my fingers?  I'm pretty sure I got it all off."

There are entire classes of words that are most notable and make for a worthwhile dalliance, whether one is speaking or writing.  There are the guttural words like, well, "guttural."  And also, I am positively enamored by:  Grotesque, putrid, pustule, mucilage, bile, phlegm, gore, cretin, urchin, besmirched and my favorite new guttural word, "coprolite," meaning "a piece of fossilized dung."  Lovely, isn't it?  I intend to use that one in my next short story.  It will be the last name of my sleazy antagonist.

And let's not forget the exotic sounding words, ones with a foreign flair, like: Insouciance, gezundheit, frappe, latte, schmaltzy, apropos, adieu, savannah, leitmotif, wanderlust, nonchalance, debutant, aficionado and verklempt.

And food words that make your stomach growl like:  Succulent, tantalizing, zesty, luscious, exquisite, aromatic, aphrodisiac, effervescent, indulgent, juicy and heavenly.  Just the word, "chocolate" has so much power, even when you're not feeling hormonal.

Lovely, wretched, energizing, gut-wrenchingly hysterical words are everywhere.  I smell them as I walk into the library, feel them floating on a breeze as they pass over a crowd at the fair, hear the cadence of their music spoken softly by shadowed monks or sweetly sung from the lips of a soprano.  Or I hear them crying out boldly from the honored vessels of books and magazines, splashing up in mesmerizing color from a web page.

I admit I'm an easily distracted wordsmith.  I could never love just one or devoted to a chosen few, even for a moment.  The English language is a treasure trove of fascinating words, whether they are interesting because of the way they dance on the ear or taste in the mouth or glide across the page.  There are so many simply wonderful words, that I can't choose which one to end with.  But I must pick one..

How about "peroration," which means the "concluding part of a speech, typically intended to inspire enthusiasm in the audience."  Well, have I inspired you?

Go forth into the world and celebrate all the simply wonderful words that are living here with us.