Wordly Five

So the king of Saudi Arabia died.

Ho hum.

It's the top news story on every outlet this morning except for Yahoo! which is still enthralled by the off chance that Tom Brady has been deflating his balls.

Yahoo!'s got their shit together.

I say that because, yeah, you're gonna hear about Abdula's spending money on education and infrastructure, and how Saudi Arabia is a US ally against ISIS, but let's be honest, it's still a country where a man can divorce his wife by saying "I divorce you." three times. And you can get stoned to death by being a little bi-curious.

But give it time. Once Walmart and Comcast go global, that'll be the end of such nonsense.

Say hello to the new gods.

Small "g"

Anyway, this isn't about the death of an old man, it's about this morning when listening to NPR, and I heard an analyst refer to the dead Saudi dude as "Seeming to be avuncular."


Now there's a word that I would not have even understood a week ago until I wrote an entire blog about it.

It's last week's Friday Five:


Ever notice how a word or idea will pop up randomly and then repeat itself in quick succession? Someone will use a word or phrase, or quote or idea, and then you'll hear that same quote or word or phrase a little bit later in a different space, or context, completely unrelated to the first instance.

I remember that the word "Suss" followed my wife around for weeks.

There was a study done (because of course there was) on this very phenomena, and it was determined that it was a trick of the mind. Our brains are hard wired to pick out patterns and redundancies. We might hear a word like "Suss" all the time, but it doesn't register, until that one time when it registers, and then we can't NOT hear it.

But Avuncular?

It's a cool word with a very specific definition but it only has so many opportunities to be used in polite conversation.

I don't buy it.

Not that I'm saying there is any direct connection between my satirical take on the birth of my nephew and the death of a king, but we're all only a few degrees from each other, so isn't it possible to assume that my blog, having been read by a total of 12 people might have put the word on someone's lips, someone who might have said "Avuncular" out loud at maybe an airport somewhere that happened to be the same airport that a certain snobby NPR analyst was at as well and he's essentially been waiting an entire week to use that term?


It's not that crazy . . . is it?

So let's run a little test.

Here are five cool words that have no real business in most of our daily lives that I selected at random in the dictionary. Your job . . . if you choose to accept it . . . is to let me know if any of these words pop up in the next week or so, cause if I'm right, and they do, well . . . I don't think it'll change the world . . . but it might make it feel like a cooler place.

First Up: Impugn
Impugn means to call into question or to challenge. It doesn't mean to block up. You can't say "That car accident is impugning my commute." And it's only sorta related to the word Impunity, which is to act without question, like a certain dead king. Calling things into question, with a reasonable amount of politeness, has the advantage of keeping us all honest. A little more impugning and maybe Walmart will start offering health benefits and livable wages.

Second Word: Titillate
I actually love this word. It's so onamonopiaticaly perfect. It means exactly what it sounds like, and exactly what you think it means, and really, is there anything more titillating than boobies?

Third Word: Lassitude
It means weariness. I sip coffee and surf the internet in my morning lassitude. If this one pops up, then I will personally change my business card to read "Professional Word Stylist"

Fourth Word: Sanguine
This one caught me by surprise because I assumed it meant melancholy, but it doesn't. It actually means hopeful. Not to be confused with sanguinary which means blood thirsty, but it is possible, as I consider all the writing I have to do today, in my morning lassitude, that rather than being daunted by the whole process, I can be sanguine about it.

The funny will come.

Fifth Word: Beatitudes
If you didn't grow up going to church, then you probably know this word as being something churchy. If you did grow up going to church then you probably have some vague memory about the beatitudes being something that someone said at one point or another. Hell, you may even know exactly what these are and are comforted by that fact, but for those who don't . . .

So this dude Jesus comes back from 40 days/nights in the wilderness and delivers what is later known as "The Sermon on the Mount" (Starting to sound familiar?)

In that sermon he delivers the eight Beatitudes (Blessed are the poor, the meek, the peacemakers, yaddayaddayadda . . . )

You know what I'm talking about.

If you've forgotten, Google it. Won't take long. It's not a proclamation or a set of laws as much as it is a simple plea to recognize the good in one another. A call for social awareness that has been widely acclaimed to be the most delicately kind of all the major philosophies.

Nietzsche is one of the few people to have negative things to say about them. But he was a dick.

What caught my eye wasn't necessarily the beauty or simplicity (though there's that) or even the hard to miss point that Jesus was a hippy socialist (though there's that too), it was the fact that the Beatitudes get so little air time.

In a world dominated by the dogmatic laws of the Ten Commandments and humorless reactions to the image of the Prophet Muhammad, it really answers the question about what's so funny about peace love and understanding.

I impugn you to consider what might be, if a dead, seemingly avuncular king exhibited even one of Jesus' blessed traits?

What might be, if instead of Brady's deflated balls, we had the Beatitudes on the tips of our tongues?

The thought almost titillates me in my sanguine lassitude.

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