Thursday, August 6, 2009

Dr. Wordwielder's Mysterious Encounter

A Word from Dr. Wordwielder:

Greetings, my friends!
Please accept my deepest regrets for my lack of punctuality in arriving at Rather Be Writing. For some unknown reason, I've developed a bit of brain fog over the last ten hours.

You see, I had completed my lessons and extra-curricular reading activities at the university library over an hour earlier than usual and so I had purposed in my heart to make an excursion to my local Barnes and Noble Booksellers establishment. The motivation for doing so was to acquire for myself a copy of the magazine, Etymology Today, where I had published an article called, “Colloquialism, The Root of Linguistic Morphology.”

Prior to leaving the university, I had received a telephone call from Ms. BeckyJoie to inform me that she was having a bit of schedule overload; what, between her new work with the non-profit organization, her review-writing job and some family distress, she requested that I postpone my visit until this evening. I was happy to oblige as it had been nearly a month since my last visit to the shelves of the celestial book hall and bistro. So I retired forthwith to Barnes and Noble.

When I arrived at my destination, I was delighted to hear that the public address system was alternating between selections of my most favored musicians, the classical composer, Mozart and the Big Band legend, Glen Miller. I felt at home, once again, with the enticing scent of fresh ink and new paper, which had comforted me from my early childhood visits to the library and bookstores. I began skimming the assortment of reading fare that lined up on the shelves as I passed through to the news department. I noted the 2010 volumes of the Writer's Market Guide and Poet's Market were freshly set in rows and still wrapped in plastic. I latched on to a copy of each and tucked them into my satchel, continuing toward the magazine rack.

There it was-of crisp copy of Etymology Today. I surveyed the pages until I found my article, wanting to make sure that the editor left my precious manuscript intact. I noted that there were no errors. The information in the document is vital to the maintenance of the English language. I oft chance to hear the deterioration of our distinguished lingua mater when a youngster verbalizes that he likes to stand around and be cold with his friends. He ought at least to put the 'g' in "chilling". And once, in the hallways of the university, a group of young men were running through like herds of cattle when one of them barged into me.

“My bad,” he said.

I was waiting for him to finish the sentence. “My bad...mistake.” “My bad... aim” or something like that but he stopped--short--at the word “bad”.

Why! Just yesterday, I was meandering through the parking lot and a sports vehicle scurried in right behind me. A gaggle of girls came running to the driver's side door yelling, “Oh! Sweet!”

I looked to see if there was a box of chocolates in the hands of the fellow but for the life of me, I could only see a bag of books. Young people these days!

So I was pleased when the magazine editor accepted my query about writing an article on the dangers of using colloquialism in communication. I sent him a piece the next week after he replied to my letter. That reminds me, I need to address him with a note of extreme appreciation for his ability to publish my article. For it was no sooner said than done. (But I need to return to my explanation of last evening.)

The intense summer temperatures spawned my salivary glands to seek out satisfaction in the form of a refreshing libation. I promptly obeyed my inner urgings and approached the bistro where I took nary a minute to convey my directive to the clerk behind the counter. “Yes, Miss, I'm mighty fine, thank you. And I would like to order a triple iced caramel latte with a dash of fresh cream and hazelnut and a stick of cinnamon. Thank you. And how much will that be?”

The young woman announced the amount and while I awaited the delivery of my chilled potable, I paid the bill for it, for my books and the magazine. Then seated myself in a corner booth to attain some solitude . The drink was surely refreshing. The whipped cream was thicker than I had remembered it and I must have looked a fright while wiping it out of my mustache and off of my nose for a youngster passing by with his mother stopped to stare at me a moment. I didn't appreciate it much as I felt that children ought to be taught not to stare at their elders but I couldn't blame him for the way I must have appeared so I looked away and began to rummage through my satchel for a pen and my reading glasses.

I had been sitting there for somewhere about the period of ten minutes when I heard a voice that pierced through me as if it were a long, lost familiar connection from my birthplace in England. I could not quite place it but I listened, hoping to recall the exact tone of voice in order that I might make the acquaintance more sure in my mind.

As I couldn't recollect the sound, I raised my head to peer around behind me to where a group of ladies sat around a table, apparently discussing a book. One by one, I heard them critique a line or two and tell why the book meant so much to them. I thought to myself that this was quite the unusual gathering for women of this caliber as I had not seen a book club or a writer's association in this town in quite some time, unless of course, you would count the students in my after school study hall.

Then I heard the voice again. It was as lovely as a nightingale, sweet and sing-songy like that of none I had ever heard before. I startled slightly but then shook off the shivers that had risen up new goose bumps on my arms. Why was I feeling so out of the ordinary? Perhaps I had caught this chillin' bug with which the young men were so fond of claiming association. Whatever it was, I had to see who the voice emanated from like the music of a violin echoing through Carnegie Hall. I stole a furtive glance in the general direction of the table, but all I could see, sticking up above her book, was the brim of a purple velvet hat and a large, plum, silk ribbon which adorned it. I sighed and attempted to return my attention to my new market guides and for a few moments, I perused the pages when all of a sudden, I heard the voice again.

“Dahling, the coffee was simply a delectable treat and the ambrosial cheesecake was simply enchanting. Above all, I adored keeping company with you, Madeline. Charming, for certain, my dear.”

I turned and she was passing by my table. I tried to catch a glimpse but just as I gazed in her direction, her pocket book slipped from her shoulder and she scooted down in the opposite direction to retrieve it.
When she stood again, the other ladies had gathered around and they began to exit the store.

I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to alarm anyone, but I could have sworn by George that I had heard that voice once before. I didn't dare to follow her to the parking lot. I did not think it a wise nor ethical thing for a gentlemen of my stature to do, but I thought perhaps I could stand in the window and pretend to be looking at the Florida skies for signs of weather. Was she an angel from heaven or a long lost friend from my former country. I did not know and never could tell as she chatted from the midst of the women's circle all the way to her vehicle, which looked to be a rental but one could not tell. It was apparent that I would not be able to ascertain her identity but her voice has haunted me ever since. I think I heard them calling her something like Ms. Smith but I couldn't be quite certain. Anyway, I returned to my table and gathered up my belongings. I had to make sure that my lesson for Rather Be Writing was in order and ready to bring to you this evening.

Now, that I have gotten that off my chest, I shall turn my attention to the purpose for which I have arrived at Rather Be Writing. Here is this week's lesson:

1. Hectic or Helpful Homonyms. The breadbaker beat the (doe or dough) before inserting it into the pan and then the oven.

2.Ideal or Idiotic Idioms. The young lady who won the cherry pie eating contest was wearing (A. a Freudian slip or B. a cheshire cat grin).

3. Wise or Wacky Words. Magnanimus. Does it mean? A. a large magnetic object OR B. generous and noble.
4. Comical or Cute Coinages. Brain dead. Although this word is a medical term which means to be have no life signs in one's brain while on the brink of death, it is now commonly used also to describe a person who is not using their brain to think and reason. What coined phrases can you create or do you often hear used? Kindly send your answers to this weblog.
Thank you Ms. Oakes, for allowing me to come once again to your blog and post. I shall look forward to reading everyone's answers as they post them to their own weblogs and link back here with a comment letting us know where you have posted your guesses and a coined word. I shall deliver the correct answers to you a few days hence.


JoJo Tabares said...

Hi Dr. Wordwielder! So glad you made it to Rather Be Writing this week. Let's see:

1. Dough
2. B. a cheshire cat grin
3. B. generous and noble.
4. HTML Illiterate and Technologically Challenged.

I keep forgetting to ask an acquaintance of mine if she knows you. You seem to be in the same line of work.

BeckyJoie said...

Hi, JoJo,
Yes, I do believe that you have answered the questions correctly. Thank you for trying your hand at taking my examination.

BeckyJoie said...

Oh, I'm in agreement with your answer to number 4 because I too have difficulty with this modern technology. As you see, I'm new to blogging and forgot to sign my name. Pardon my ignorance and rudeness if you please.


Dr. Wordwielder