Have I Told You Lately That I Love Euphemisms?

Euphemisms are great – you can use them to tiptoe around those pesky unpleasant subjects in your day-to-day life by referring to them as something with a higher degree of sophistication than you otherwise might. For example, when I first encountered the term logophile I thought for sure that it was something academic and superfantastic. Which it is.

But then the thoughts began, as they do. And this is where it goes off track for a tinch. When I allowed my mind to cavort with the word logophile it initially brought to surface memories of ergonomically designed Lego houses, staged and thoughtfully decorated – all of which my brothers would coordinate dual air strikes on to smash/explode with the Space Lego they got for Christmas…fuckers. The slogan “Leggo my Eggo!” from the Kellogg’s advertising campaign of yore sprung to mind, too. I can’t fully explain why. So naturally I visualized a tower built entirely of golden-crisp waffles with cute little Lego versions of the characters from Star Wars waving out the windows. Makes perfect sense.

In hindsight it seems more likely that one would think about decals or perhaps brand name placement obsession. Maybe my neural pathways are super-effed? My parents swear they didn’t accidentally drop me on my tender new cranium when I was an infant, forever altering the soft wiring therein; furthermore, my mother insists she didn’t experiment with illicit drugs during my incubation, entrenching in me an unmapped prehensile tendency to create psychological portmanteaus wherever possible. I guess divergent thinking is just my shtick. Qué será.

Have you ever witnessed someone on the train or in an elevator who is obviously immersed in thought almost imperceptibly shake their head? This is what I do in these situations. It restarts your cognitive process, much like rebooting your electronic gadget of choice. Intoxicated people will do it too, or anyone that is severely grossed out – though it’s usually enacted with less subtlety.

Peeling away the pop-culture references and focusing on antiquity, I became cognizant that philia denotes fondness. Alas, logos is the Greek word for…well, word. Logophile means “lover of words”. Castles made out of waffles? What kind of idiot would…nevermind. Oh – and it’s pronounced law-guh-file. Duh.

Which is what this installment is actually about. Well, clearly it’s about euphemisms – but one of the most far-reaching ones I’ve heard to describe a person such as myself: Logophile. In reality and without any sort of tiptoeing, I am a wordslut. It’s okay. I’ve done a lot of self-analysis and I can admit it. I have a degree in psychology and I’m an ardent feminist – it’s fine. Allow me a moment to be totally straightforward: I become infatuated and subsequently familiar with a new word at least once a week, and although I will admit to feeling a tiny bit guilty for moving on to the next one with such rapidity, I can’t stop. Every week a new word. Admittedly, I don’t want to stop. I LOVE IT.

You see? Wordslut. Now, quit judging and let me paint you a picture.

Your eyes skim the crowd, the same old lackluster scenario – variation only in the subtle recombination of torsos, limbs and curves. How very boring. Suddenly you stop. In an otherwise unremarkable bunch, something catches your eye. Your heart beats a little faster as you retrace your steps, feeling lightheaded and a touch out of control. AH!! There. You don’t know this one but instantly recognize it as something uniquely special; strange that you haven’t encountered it before. You make your approach. A clumsy first introduction – you feel foolish as the sounds fall awkwardly out of your mouth. Did you even pronounce it right?

After a brief tête-à-tête you rush off to look it up. Now that you know its name, you need to get a bead on this one as quickly as possible! The more background you seek on your new interest, the more you want to know. Things move along quickly. Once you are somewhat acquainted, you search for it in novel situations. Tentatively, you feel it out. Before you know it, you glimpse an understanding, strip it down and begin to maneuver it into exciting new positions…all to coax out its inner meaning until finally you reach full visceral understanding. Relaxed at last, you fall away satisfied.

You go on to spend time with your latest acquisition, albeit when it’s convenient for you –  show it off to your friends and coworkers when you want to impress. Inevitably, though, and just like every other time before, you feel a growing and inescapable complacency toward your new word. It’s nothing that it has done…it’s YOU. You’re restless. You need something more. With a sense of melancholy you mark another notch on the keyboard tray and move on to the next conquest. Every week a new flavor. Another word.

All of this to say that words have such power. They can represent a construct or phenomenon to a greater or lesser degree; conjure memories, create ideas and ignite feelings. When I reach for them in a world of organized nonsense, they are steadfast and often more tangible than the reality in which I abide.

Thank you for stopping by.

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