’18 A To Z Challenge – O

 

Challenge '18letter-o

 

 

 

 

 

OBSESSION

When is a door not a door??  When it’s ajar.  When is an obsession not an obsession??  Are we obsessed if we always do the same things the same way, or is it that, through observation and practice, we have found the best way??  I’m not stubborn.  My way is just right.

Obsession is a matter of degree.  If you check that the doors are locked before retiring for the night, you’re careful and cautious.  If you check that the doors are locked before retiring for the night – 15 or 20 times – you may be a bit obsessive.

Even if we don’t have to seek professional help, most of us have a thing or few that we’re a bit obsessive about.  My father was obsessive about putting butter on bread: actually, about NOT putting butter on bread.  Somehow it disturbed him to have a bit of unused butter on his knife when his bread was covered.  He hated to have to scrape the excess off against the edge of the butter dish.  It could take him 3 or 4 tiny little diminishing dabs, to complete his task.

Since the wife’s life centers around food and cooking, so do her obsessions.  We own 3 butter knives, another household item not common in our social/financial neighborhood.  She uses one to add dabs of margarine to a casserole of scalloped potatoes, as she assembles it, or to spread pâté on rolls or crackers….  because, apparently, a kitchen knife won’t do it.

As a teen, an older sister impressed upon her that, All dishes have to be washed in a sinkful of hot, soapy water.”  Not a bad idea on its own, but – we own 4 or 5 sets of measuring spoons.  If a recipe calls for a tablespoon of sugar, a teaspoon of salt, and a half-teaspoon of cinnamon, she measures out the tablespoon of sugar.  Sugar doesn’t stick to slick, stainless steel spoons.  If it did, I would wipe off an offending grain or two with a dishcloth.  The other size spoons aren’t used but, she throws the entire set into the sink, to be washed.

Then she gets out another set, measures the salt….and throws that set in the sink.  Then, she gets out yet another set, measures the cinnamon….and throws it in the sink too.  It’s a good thing that there are two dishwashers in our home.  General Electric built one….I am the other.

I remember the first time she caught observed me cleaning out a saucepan of reheated chilli and eating with a spatula.  We don’t do that at our house.

She ‘translated’ cooking instructions for a rice maker, from Imperial, to Metric, and came up with the weight of rice at 389 grams.  I obsess about that ’messy’ looking number, and use a nice, round, 390 grams without ever telling her.  It’s almost as bad as the swishy little women’s section editor in our paper, who published instructions to chill something down to the freezing mark, 0 degrees Celsius….or 33 degrees Fahrenheit.  I obsessively called him and asked how in Hell he’d got 33 degrees.  He just figured it out with his calculator.

My obsessions center around the English language, and word usage.  If you’ve read any of my word posts, like last year’s rant, you know how I like to poke fun at lazy, stupid, unthinking misusages, especially by professionals.  Things like the headline, “Pope considers taking “leave.”  Taking “leave,” is a Lieutenant-Colonel with 30-days of R&R – a temporary absence.  What they meant to punctuate was, “Pope considers “taking leave,” as in, a resignation, a retirement, a permanent giving up of the post of Pope, the way that Benny The Dick wisely did.

The headline writer took leave of his education and training.  I don’t want you to take leave of this site.  See you back here soon??  Please!  🙂

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WOW #10

Drake

The Word Of the Week for this week will be;

CANARD

Definitions for canard
a false or baseless, usually derogatory story, report, or rumor.
Cookery. A duck intended or used for food.

Origin of canard 1840-1850 Canard is from Old French quanart “drake,” literally “cackler,” from the onomatopoeic caner “to cackle” and the suffix -art, a variant of -ard, as in mallard or braggart. Canard is all that is left of the Middle French idiom vendre un canard à moitié “to sell half a duck,” i.e., “to take in, swindle, cheat.” Canard entered English in the 19th century.

I don’t really know why I chose Canard as the Word Of the Week.  It’s not all that old, and it’s not cute and cuddly.  It is interesting that, in both English, and French where it came from, it has the word value of ‘lying, cheating and swindling.’

It wandered over and got used in Jules Verne’s The War of the Worlds, when it was only 50 years old.  Never a common word, it is still used occasionally to reference American politics, where lying, cheating and swindling are competitive sports.

This week, Lewandowski distinguished himself by reviving the birther canard—the thoroughly debunked conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. Margaret Talbot, “The Trouble with Corey Lewandowski on CNN,” The New Yorker, August 6, 2016

I started out researching pollard(ing), which is trimming a tree back severely, to produce a ball-shape, and more, leafier, shorter branches. I was soon at bollard, which is a short, thick iron or steel post used to tie ships to; from the bole, or trunk of a tree, and found that the meaning of the surname Bullard is, “son of a monk or priest.” I was in the –ard neighborhood anyway.

There is a Random House Dictionary. I sometimes feel that I should be using it. That’s what my research often feels like. I hope to see you here again, the next time I fail to be inspired for a Flash Fiction.