king

L ike most people, I see and read lots of words every day on computer screens, in newspapers, on TV, signs, menus, billboards, bumper stickers, bills, commercial vehicles — pretty much everywhere you look you will see words.

 Most of the words I see affect me in differing ways. Some, like ‘willowy,’ are pleasant and conjure up a vision of a graceful, long-legged colt. Some, like ‘bloated,’ are disgusting and remind me of painful episodes of ... um, intestinal distress.

 Some, like ‘burp,’ ‘cuckoo,’ ‘croak,’ ‘hiccup,’ ‘meow,’ ‘ping-pong,’ ‘zip’ and ‘sizzle’ sound exactly like the event or activity they describe. Some, like ‘bimonthly,’ are ambiguous as to their meaning (twice a month or every other month — hmmm).

 Some words are virtually unknown, like ‘sororal,’ which is the opposite of fraternal, or ‘cloward,’ the term for a group of cats.  

 Other words are notable for odd reasons — such as words that exist only in plural form, like ‘binoculars’, ‘forceps,’ ‘gallows,’ ‘glasses,’ ‘pliers,’ ‘scissors,’ ‘shears,’ ‘tongs,’ etc.

 There are a few words that I simply cannot tolerate, and so, avoid them whenever possible. A perfect example of a word that should be replaced because nearly everyone is disgusted by it, is ‘crotch.’ I am proud to say that I have never uttered the word ‘crotch’ in public — not even in reference to a tree.

 Another disgusting word is ‘bulbous.’ Many people (me not among them) think that bulbous is a noun. Truth be told, bulbous is an adjective. Example: ‘The enormous pores in Grampa’s bulbous nose could hold enough mustard to supply a New York City deli for a month.’ I don’t mind ‘bulb.’ I can tolerate the versatile and handy ‘ous.’ It’s only when you couple them that the result resembles the genetically unfortunate child of two beautiful parents who each inexplicably (one of my favorite words) provided their worst physical features and traits to their butt-ugly spawn.

 But, I digress.

 Another awful word is ‘jowls.’ Webster’s repugnantly defines ‘jowls’ as 1) a fold of flesh hanging from the jaw, as of a very fat person, or 2) the meat of the cheek of a hog, or 3) the dewlap of cattle. ‘Jowls’ is also unique in the sense that the facial contortions required to pronounce it actually produce jowls on the unfortunate speaker — a phenomenon known as ‘Nixonitis.’

 Even ‘word’ is weird. Shouldn’t it rhyme with ‘lord,’ ‘cord’ or ‘ford,’ not ‘turd,’ ‘curd’ or ‘bird?’

 And who came up with philtrum (space between nose and upper lip), glabella (flat space above the nose, between the eyebrows) and tragus (the little bump in your ear, above the lobe).

 If I were King, all body part names would be royally restricted to one syllable. If ‘brain’ and ‘heart’ can be one syllable, so can any other part. 

 And what the hell is a dewlap?

 Never mind. I don’t want to know.

 And that’s my final word. 

Opinions offered in If I Were King are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Tri-County Times or its staff. Email the King at king@tctimes.com. Some content adapted from the internet.

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