Crème

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Crème: (n) cream

Sometimes I foolishly allow myself to get on a jag of discovering correct grammar, proper sentence structure, and believe it or not, accurate spelling.

In the midst of this pursuit, I occasionally stumble on a word that has an old-time spelling and a new-fangled spelling without any particular consensus on which one is definitively correct.

Idiot that I occasionally am, I adopt the unusual spelling or pronunciation, thinking it makes me a trifle uptown or high-falutin’.

The result is always the same.

All the people who do not share my predilection for a historical study of the English language—etymology—immediately wonder why in the hell I use the word etymology when I wasn’t mentioning insects.

I know they don’t know what they’re talking about.

I am positive I have discovered some nugget of personal treasure which I am offering in order to seem expansive.

But inevitably, I’ll be corrected—rudely.

In one of my novels I wrote that my character requested “coffee and crème.”

First, my spellcheck had a stroke. (You know—when the squiggly line is SO dark and red that you realize it’s coming from a rage from spellcheck’s childhood.)

I resisted spellcheck and had it published, only to hear from grammar Nazis, concerned friends, and those who joined the club (which probably is called, “Cream Should Be Spelled C-R-E-A-M.”) They all asked me to reform. I became defensive, which made them believe that I was not only ignorant, but mentally challenged.

 


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Chrysalis

Chrysalis: (n) a preparatory or transitional state.

The main reason I don’t want to come out of my cocoon is that I don’t think I’ll end up being a pretty butterfly.

Wouldn’t that be horrible–to spend your life cramped into a tiny space, gouging your ego and leaving you feeling inadequate, only to burst
forth from your chrysalis and be either ugly or a gooey, incomplete mess?

I’ve wondered throughout my life if it’s more important to know what to do, how to do it, or when to do it. You see, there are many things I believe I’m prepared for, and then, even the hint of opportunity can surprise me, leaving me clumsy.

That’s why sometimes I giggle when our culture encourages us in the buffoonery of expressing verbal confidence, when we actually have no idea if we can pull something off or not.

Is it wrong to want a couple more days, weeks or months in the chrysalis before sticking a wing out and find out if we can fly?

Or is it just part of the process–that we get dumped out of our cocoon, and whatever we are is what we are?

Maybe we should have asked for a guarantee before entering our chrysalis: “This metamorphosis guarantees you one beautiful butterfly body…”

But in the world of nature, there are very few guarantees–just possibilities–usually afforded at the most inopportune time.

 

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Alcove

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Alcove: (n) a recess typically in the wall of a room or garden.

What an interesting definition. I always thought an alcove was more like a little chunk out of the mainland, where water creeps its way in, creating a still, calm environment.

Far be it from me to disagree with Mr. Webster–but since you have his definition, let me talk about mine.

I thought it was magical. Out on Hoover Lake, near Columbus, Ohio, there was this place. Maybe I’d better call it a spot. It was just an area of water near the shoreline, indented–about the size of two swimming pools–where we used to go fishing. We found it every time. After all, we thought it was magical.

There was a tree sticking up out of the lake, rocks along the shoreline, and the water was not terribly deep, so it was perfect for catching fish. I always believed it was kind of like a “resort area” for the little swimmers to go to–not suspecting there would be wise fishing souls like myself, to catch them on a hook.

I don’t really know if the fishing was better in that particular alcove. But I convinced myself it was. Matter of fact, I learned that the true magic in life is often in convincing yourself of something pretty good, so you can bring your heart and soul to the mission.

Catfish were in that alcove. I loved to catch ’em. I was a little squeamish about taking the hook out of their mouths because they have those barbs that can stick you. Often we used bread dough or a corn muffin as bait, because the catfish weren’t picky.

And it was easy to row over to the shoreline, get out of the boat, stretch your legs, take a good pee, and in just a minute, be back to the business of fishing.

I do remember being disappointed one afternoon when another boat came into our sacred turf. It felt defiling. How could it be special if other people discovered it?

But fortunately, they didn’t stay long. Completely missed out on the magic.

Isn’t that like life? One man’s alcove is another man’s disappointment.

So I apologize to Mr. Webster if I have misused the definition. But I’m afraid, considering my age, that I will continue to believe that my magical alcove on Hoover Lake is the vacation home of many a fishy possibility.