It’s a stormy, late-spring day, with thunder and flashes of lightning. I’m in a reflective mood. Everything is ruled by the big karma wheel in the sky. Why have certain topics been chosen repeatedly?
After several fifth-grade geography classmates failed, I correctly pronounced–“Nova Scotia.” Because of Nova Scotia, I missed detention during recess. Recess was a big deal back then.
“M-I-S-S-I, crooked letter, crooked letter, I”spelled out the famous state and river. I wasn’t blessed with athletic prowess, so as a matter of course, used spellings of big words, to lord over other students. The jocks didn’t care, but it caught the attention of a few geeks like myself.
Counted among word slingers; skinny, dorky kids, slinging big words around–big words, with rapid-fire spellings. Which worked fine, until other word slingers came around. Word slingers with reputations among other word slingers. Kids named Dennis or Roger, that never smiled–with even longer words, faster spellings.
I fell, wounded, from–E-N-C-Y-C-L-O-P-E-D-I-A. Looked into the cold, steel-blue eyes of Dennis–the victor. What kind of name was Dennis for a word slinger? “Dennis, the Word Killer” would have been far more sinister. Dennis chewed through difficult words, spit them out, ground them into playground dust with his P. F. Flyers.
Defeated word slingers seldom came back. Moderate success came with a-n-t-i-d-i-s-t-a-b-l-i-s-h-m-e-n-t-p-a-r-l-i-a-m-e-n-t-a-r-i-a-n-i-s-m. Hours studying dictionaries and encyclopedias proved all for naught. With the popularity of s-u-p-e-r-c-a-l-i-f-r-a-g-i-l-i-s-t-i-c-e-x-p-i-a-l-i-d-o-c-i-o-u-s–the big word everybody liked, from “The Sound of Music,” my word slinging days were finished.