2003 Notebook: Weak XX
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15 May 2003
No. 792 (cartoon)
At least I still have my dreams.

You’re such an idiot.

16 May 2003
A Mistake of Historical Proportions
I was visiting Cotton when I spotted a stack of recordings on his teenage daughter’s desk.

“Wow!” I exclaimed. “I can’t believe that Siobhan is listening to the same music I enjoyed when I was her age.”

“You shouldn’t believe it,” Cotton said, “That’s my music. She’s using it for her history class.”

I didn’t need to know that.

17 May 2003
Funny Humor
I asked Marcie if she wanted to hear a joke.

“That depends,” she said. “I only like certain types of humor.”

“Like what?” I asked.

“I guess I mostly like funny humor,” she replied.

I admitted that I couldn’t remember any jokes that fit that description, so I changed the subject.

18 May 2003
Less than K and L
I read that psychologists—or was it psychiatrists?—now measure K and L. K is charisma, which strikes me as a strange naming convention. Charisma is a fairly well-known word, and a couple of extra syllables really doesn’t represent a usage obstacle, even for someone as lazy as I am.

L is more interesting; it represents the measure of a person’s confidence in their ability relative to how capable s/he is. For example, a brilliant musician who’s constantly afraid of being unable to perform would be be a fraction of an L. On the other end of the spectrum, the pResident of the United States may have one of the highest number of Ls on record.

I wish I had many Ks; multi-K people work even less than I do. On the other hand, I’m very comfortable with being less than L. As Wiiliam Wegman said, “I had a revelation in the sixties—don’t work over your own head.”

19 May 2003
On Efficiency
Abdul and I were having a learned discussion about our respective creative practices.

“I like to work as efficiently as possible,” I declared.

“You barely work at all,” Abdul declared.

“Precisely!” I agreed. “Not working at all represents perfect efficiency, so thus barely working represents working extremely efficiently.”

“That’s just sophistry and you know it,” Abdul complained.

“The Sophists were a very efficient people,” I said with a smile.

20 May 2003
Forgotten New Words
The last time I archived the entire contents of my primary computer to a remote server, I noticed that I had almost two hundred thousand files. I have no idea how most of them got there. The expression detritus maximus comes to mind, even though that’s not a phrase at all.

And then this afternoon I ran across a document titled “New Words” that hadn’t been touched since 22 September 1998. These are some of the “new” words I’d noted.

Sesquipedalian is long word. Philter is a love potion or charm. Nepenthe is an ostensibly legendary drug of ancient times that relieves sorrow and grief. (As a pedantic aside, how can something no one’s ever heard of be the stuff of legends?) Meconium is “a dark green fecal material that accumulates in the fetal intestines and is discharged at or near the time of birth.” To contemn is to view with contempt. And speaking of minor Whites, an epigone is “an undistinguished imitator, follower, or successor of an important writer, painter, et cetera.”

And so on.

I don’t remember any of those words, and probably never will. Increasing my vocabulary is yet another self-improvement project that I’ll never complete. As my learned friends have commented, I’m full of meconium.

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©2003 David Glenn Rinehart