Parsing A Trending Word, Thinking About My Dad

IF I OFFEND YOU, my gentle readers, by mentioning this charmingly old-fashioned word, please forgive me.  But you see, “pissant” was one of my father’s favorite words.

Dad’s been a long time gone from my life, so I’d forgotten about his use of this word.  However when I saw  “pissant” listed as Trending Now on the Merriam-Webster website, I immediately remembered Dad using the word.

OF COURSE WHEN DADDY, a physician, used the word “pissant” it didn’t stand alone.  Oh, no, no, no.  He’d further explain that the “pissant” in question was EITHER “in need of a high colonic” OR “in need of a frontal lobotomy.”

The first phrase, with the enema reference, was for those people who didn’t tell the truth– full of sh!t, ‘ya know?

The second phrase, the brain surgery reference, was for those people who were speaking illogically, making no sense– perhaps crazy.

DAD HAD A WAY WITH WORDS, I’ll give him that.  And because he was never one to not opine about events, people, &/or ideas–  many of his words have stuck with me in one way or another.

Don’t quite know what more to tell you here, my gentle readers.  Just a passing thought, from a blogging wordsmith who came by her love of words + writing early in life.

Listening to her elders [one in particular] go on & on about things. 🙄


Do you ever hear a word and immediately think of someone who uses, or used, that word because the person and the word are inextricably linked together in your mind?

If so, what’s the word and who’s the person? If not, what prompts you to recall someone? Photos? Music? Food? Scent? 


To Me It Was The Grocery Store, To Dude It Was Noah’s Ark


SO I AM SHOPPING IN Kroger at a particularly busy time of day on a winter’s day when the weather is shifting from snow to rain.  Dude, a 40-something man with graying hair and expensive eyeglasses, is in my way.

Everywhere I go in the store, Dude, in his perfectly pressed dark blue jeans and black hoodie, is there in front of me.

  • In the foyer, Dude grabs the shopping cart I’m reaching for.
  • In the produce section he blocks me from grabbing a Vidalia onion… the mushrooms… a head of iceberg lettuce.
  • In the bakery department he stands indecisively by the rustic sesame seed bread that I want to buy.
  • In the meat department I try to reach for some boneless skinless chicken breasts, but he and his cart are in my way …again… as he ponders all things chicken.

I LOSE TRACK OF DUDE while I’m shopping the interior aisles of the store.  I grab a jar of green olives stuffed with garlic and a box of Cheerios unhindered by his in-the-way-ness.

But he reappears in my life as I walk from the cheese department, where I’ve picked up some Swiss cheese, to the yogurt department where I want to buy one container of plain no-fat yogurt.

It is there, trapped behind this man once again …waiting… that I realize there’s writing on the back of his black hoodie.


I BEGIN TO STALK DUDE as he walks up and down the freezer case aisles, but he never stops to grab something from a freezer case when he’s under a bright overhead light so I’m unable to see the gibberish on the back of his hoodie.

Eventually we both end up in the refrigerated beverage section of the store where Dude reaches for a gallon of iced tea.  He’s standing under a light so I can read the pithinicity that’s written on the back of his hoodie.

Unsurprisingly, it says what I believe to be about the dumbest thing ever, while perfectly explaining Dude’s behavior while shopping in the grocery.  The writing on the hoodie said:

“If you’re going to fight, fight like you are the third monkey on the ramp to Noah’s Ark and brother it’s starting to rain.”


Pondering A Neighbor: The Difference Between Gossip And Information

Dude, I’m not impressed with you. [Photo by Samuel Zeller via Unsplash]

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WHILE ATTEMPTING TO MAKE A left-hand turn into our driveway I had to stop to allow a jogger, the neighborhood registered sex offender*, to run by before I could turn into our driveway.

He turned to look at me and snarled.  I looked at him and tipped my head, slightly, to acknowledge his presence.

I didn’t attempt to run over him with my car nor did I give him the finger.  Both options occurred to me as I sat there waiting for him to get out of my way but I realize that with some people indifferent is the best you can do.

I’D LOVE TO LEAVE THIS story at that, but here’s the thing– and it’s something that’s weighed on my mind since seeing this guy, a man who has served his prison time and is now merely listed on the state registered sex offender website.

In the last year, or two, this man has fathered a baby girl with his wife [girlfriend?].  They live down the street.  In this family neighborhood.

Uh huh.

Interestingly enough, it’s my understanding that soon, in the next year, he will be eligible to have his name removed from the sex offender website.  Meaning that only those of us neighbors who are here now will know about his past.

SO GETTING TO MY POINT, I’m left with three questions:

  1. would any parent knowingly allow their child to play with his daughter at his house?
  2. how unfair is it for this daughter to live her life under the shadow of his crime? and 
  3. when new neighbors move into the neighborhood, should someone tell them the rest of his story?


• • •

* UPDATED: This afternoon I got a chance to use the search function on The U.S. Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Website.  The neighbor is no longer listed there.  HOWEVER, there were 13 other people listed as registered sex offenders who live within a 3 mile radius of my house.  I had no idea…

• • •

No, No, No. Your House Did Not “Got Bought!”

I’m not a fussbudget about your word choice.  I prefer that your words be nuanced and precise, but if they aren’t most of the time I let it go.  ‘Cuz I’m a kindhearted English major, you know?

I didn’t used to be like this, but I’ve mellowed over the years because, ironically, people have disappointed me so many times that I’ve become charmingly cynical, with incredibly low expectations about what people do or how they do it.

And it’s from this jaded point of view that I’m going to tell you, my gentle readers, about a local realtor who upon selling a house, puts a sign out in front of it that says:


Apparently the time-honored SOLD will not work.  Nope, this realtor goes with what I can only assume is a play on the “Got Milk?” marketing campaign, combined with a good old-fashioned rhyme.

I get that this is a clever + seemingly harmless use of the English language.

And I also admit, openly and freely, that what I’m going to write in the next paragraph contradicts one of my favorite sayings: “do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?”

But in this particular case I’m going to declare that I. Want. To. Be. Right.  I want to see SOLD signs.  Now tell me, my gentle readers, is that asking too much?

Modern Life 101: When The Text Wasn’t Meant For You, What Do You Do?

THE OTHER DAY I received text messages from friends that I wasn’t supposed to receive.  I was part of the conversation by accident.

We all know that stuff like this happens.

[In fact, it’s a miracle that when I text with Z-D I don’t accidentally include his sisters on the text.  In my phone, they’re all set up together so that I can send group texts.  Meaning that if I want to just text Z-D alone, I have to scroll down my contacts to find him.

I figure it’s a matter of time before I get distracted and text his sisters with something like: Pizza 🍕? Beer 🍻 too plz. You get dinner 🆗?]

SO, YOU’RE WONDERING IF what I read in these texts was salacious, aren’t you?  Did I get some good dirt on these friends who included me, but didn’t really mean to include me?

Well, no.

The texting was about how much one friend adored the daughter of another friend and how she was so happy to have spent time with the other friend’s daughter.

Gushy Mom Stuff, you know?

[But this texting did remind of something that happened years ago when email was new.  I got BCCed on messages going between two married friends who were, it seemed to me, having a lesbian affair that their husbands didn’t know about.

I didn’t need to know about it either, but there it was.]

ANYHOO, I FIGURE THAT everyone probably has a story about inadvertently learning something about someone else because that someone else made a mistake when using some kind of newfangled communication technology.

Like a text. Or an email. Or a voice mail, if we’re really reaching back in time.

I’m talking about eavesdropping, modern-style.

So, kids, spill the beans.

 – – 👀 – –

What do you know that you’re not supposed to know? How did you come to know this? Did you do anything with the information that you accidentally learned?

– – ? – –

The One About The Mutual Acquaintance With The *Maybe* Secret Life

FRIEND, WHO IS NOT A DRAMA QUEEN, is convinced that a mutual acquaintance of ours, let’s call her Maureen, has a secret life.

Friend, who lives closer to Maureen and communicates with her more frequently than I do, thinks that Maureen is up to something.  Something weird, that is.  Something that Maureen doesn’t want us to know about.

Friend, who enjoys ye olde Facebook, tells me that Maureen disappears for days, not responding to any form of contact and then when they do talk in person there are holes in the story– about who was there, when events happened.

EASY AS IT WOULD BE TO DISMISS Friend’s observations about Maureen, I’ve heard this story before, many years ago.  And in that situation, the suspicions turned out to be correct.

Back then, that mutual acquaintance was off doing some things in another town involving a new age-y cult-type group that mutual acquaintance didn’t want anyone to know about.

But eventually we did find out– and that was long before Facebook, a simple nosy way to lurk on the edges of someone’s life.  Which is, of course, what Friend is now doing as she tries to find out the truth about Maureen’s alleged secret life.

AND ME, WHAT AM I DOING ABOUT all of this?  Not one blessed thing except listening to Friend.

I figure that enough people tell me their secrets and concerns without any prompting, that I don’t need to go looking for more things to know about people than what they want to share with me directly.

Case in point… read the first sentence of this post.

~ ~ ? ~ ~
Question of the Day:
Have you ever wondered if a friend or acquaintance has a secret life?  And if so, did they?  Or do you still not know for sure?
~ ~ ? ~ ~

A Refreshing Conversation With An Older Gentleman Who Takes Life In Stride

“Sometimes you’re the windshield, Sometimes you’re the bug…” 

I was listening to an older acquaintance chuckle as he told me about a scam he’d gotten caught up in.  He understood what had happened and how it’d happened.

After some research and many phone calls, he’d extracted himself from the scam and was a few hundred dollars poorer because of it.

He told me that in retrospect he realized that the whole mess was less about him being stupid, than about the scam being slick and sophisticated, taking advantage of his trusting nature + his unfamiliarity with certain details.

No surprise there, eh?

But what struck me about this conversation, that was more like a monologue, was that this older gentleman telling me this story wasn’t bitter about what had happened.  There was not one ounce of “I’m a victim” or “I blame _____” going on with this guy.

Instead, he was telling his story as a cautionary tale.  All he needed was for someone to listen and understand his predicament– and for someone to tell him that he “done good” solving the problem himself.

All of which got me thinking…

When was the last time you were part of a conversation like this one?  SERIOUSLY, when did you last listen to someone who had been taken advantage of– and who wasn’t whining and emoting about the unfairness of it all?

Someone who was behaving like an adult who grasped the fact that in the rhythm of life not everything works out as planned– and that’s ok, too, because if you’re smart, you learn from it and move on.

Like this older gentleman did, in his quiet self-deprecating way.