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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Crawdad

funny wisdom on words that begin with a CCrawdad: (idiom) crayfish

If you run across a situation which is odd, or a group of people who seem a bit bizarre, always remember the power of the word “colorful.”

In other words, “these circumstances are not dangerous or bewildering—they’re just colorful.”

It’s a word I learned when I lived four years in Louisiana. Being raised in the Midwest, I found the folks of the Bayou to have many traditions I thought were challenging.

Chief among them was the eating of crawdads.

I had seen these creatures as a little boy. My parents even referred to them as the “poor man’s lobster.”

But I had never observed them regarded with such relish as in Louisiana. (Actually, relish is one of the few things they don’t eat crawfish with.)

I was frustrated. There is so little meat on the crawdad that it is an exhausting chore to get two tablespoon’s worth of fishy flesh. The natives, of course, laughed at me. They explained that the great taste of the little varmints lay in “sucking their heads.”

Yes. I’m talking about taking that tiny crusty head which looks like it came off the monster in “Alien,” and putting it up to your mouth and sucking in. They explained that many folks who tried it for the first time compared it to eating raw oysters.

Excellent. May I point out that to me, eating raw oysters is like being forced to slurp up one’s own snot?

I’m usually not this picky. After all, my entire life I have eaten hotdogs with no fear of gristle and bone fragments. But there is something so ugly about the crawdad. The little booger just gives me the creeps.

I tried. But even after four years, whenever they walked over to a table covered with newspaper and dumped a big pan of them onto the table, my first instinct was to scream like a little girl and run down to McDonald’s and order a Happy Meal.


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Brier

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Brier: (n) any of a number of prickly scrambling shrubs

Maybe pleasure is the absence of pain. It seems like a dark definition.

Perhaps pleasure and pain should be separated by some great gulf to ensure they will not bang into each other. We could call that valley between the two “normalcy.”

But all of us know that’s a lie.Dictionary B

What we gradually learn is that having a wet diaper and a hungry tummy isn’t worth squalling about. It sure seems like we should do it when we’re babies–but that’s because we’re babies. Everything is about us and our comfort, and anything that disrupts us is considered so despicable that we must scream at the top of our lungs.

Nine years old and I went out picking blackberries. There were briers with thorns. The blackberries were beautiful. Can I also say they were quite tasty?

But I pricked myself three or four times and came back with a bad memory of the excursion because of a little pain.

Since that time, life has come along and beat me up quite a bit–to the point that being pricked in a brier patch seems miniscule, especially in comparison to the pleasure which comes from the fruit of my labor.

Maturity, especially spiritual ascension, is once and for all understanding that the absence of pain is pleasure.

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