I've always enjoyed learning new words. The English language is uncommonly generous in its offerings, so I often encounter something new in my readings that sends me to the dictionary. In order to imbed these new treasures, I quickly endeavor to put them to use. While reading Zane Grey's The Rainbow Trail, published in 1915, I encountered the word 'revivify', a fanciful upgrade for the more banal 'revive'. Some may have noticed that I invented an occasion to use it in a recent NNAOPP update.
Recent readings introduced me to an uncommonly cool word, callipygian, meaning, having well-shaped buttocks. This appeared in a non-fiction account of Theodore Roosevelt's days as police commissioner of New York c. 1895, Island of Vice. The author described the naked, golden statue of Diana perched atop Madison Square Garden as, "particularly comely and callipygian with breasts like tangerines." I immediately Googled the word and learned that it means having well-shaped buttocks, making it imminently useful for future purposes.
Callpygous also caught my attention owing to its similarity to another arcane word that tickles me, steatopygia, defined in Webster's as an extreme accumulation of fat on or about the buttocks. For aging KC Royal's fans who may remember Hal McRae, it's not difficult to envision him running to first base at full speed with a champagne flute situated on his shelf-like buttocks, spilling nary a drop. I can't explain the abundance of five-dollar words with Greek origins describing buttocks given the paucity of monikers for other body parts.
Speaking of the Royals. After 29 years in the wilderness, the boys in blue pulled off a magical October. Imagine what might have been had third base coach, Mike Jirschele, gave Alex Gordon the green light as he rounded third on the misplayed double. There were two outs, home team down by a run, bottom of the ninth, seventh game of the World Series. If he's out sliding into home, the outcome is the most exciting denouement in World Series history. If he's safe, the Royals tie the game on an improbable inside-the-park-home-run. The crowd erupts, and the jubilant, storybook ending no one would have envisioned three months earlier would surely have ensued. It was still pretty darn sweet.
We were privileged to witness the event along with all of the home post-season games excepting the first game loss against Bumgarner. One of my many memories of the October run occurred as Judy and I were driving home after the Wednesday afternoon game when the Royals beat the Orioles 2-1 to win the American League pennant. We were directed to a route opposite of our destination taking us onto old Highway 40. There, we observed a bevy of scantily clad beauties waving Royal's flags standing outside a windowless box of a building.. I noted innocently, "Judy, look even the strippers are going crazy for the Royals."
Judy responded in a mildly accusatory tone, "How do you know they are strippers?"
I murmured inaudibly, knowing fully the best response was no response. But I thought to myself, "There are more than a few subtle clues dearest. If the 'Bambi loves Hos' sign' weren't sufficient, I'd go with the flashing 'Nude Dancers' beacon."
At the very least, future travels while wearing my old, green KC hat should no longer engender puzzled queries about the Knights of Columbus.
A few weeks ago we hosted an event at our farm attended by many children and their parents. I was wearing my standard farm outfit of bib overalls and a gray Carhartt jacket. I chatted with one of the Dads, an architect whose 7-yr-old son was in the vicinity. We stood by Ft. Waverly and the nearby teepee. He was complimentary about the fort's design, and he asked about the teepee. I told him that I had slept in it the preceding weekend, and added, "It was a bit chilly and around 2:30 am I was awakened by the exchanges of hoot owls that seemed to have me surrounded. Later, I heard the piercing yips of a band of coyotes coming from the distance."
I didn't think any more of this conversation until a thank you note arrived from the same man. Among other things it said, "Our oldest son had a great time and kept talking about the 'farmer guy' who sleeps in the teepee with the hoot owls and coyotes." I like his version better.
In case you have the urge to parade nude in public at a time and place other than Mardi Gras in NOLA, please be advised such behavior is legal in Topeka. I recently heard an interview with the goofball who has been walking around Topeka unclothed. The police were unable to charge him with a crime as the city fathers must have missed this particular peculiarity in writing their laws for the past 175 years. It's plausible that it just hasn't come up. I very much like the ring of "Legal in Topeka" and will peruse a possible purpose for this title.
Over breakfast recently, a good friend was describing his recent efforts de-cluttering his home. He was using Craigslist, ESPY, and other means of selling and giving away stuff. I asked what he intended to do with the proceeds. "More and better wine," was the understandable reply. From that came, "Waterford for Wine." Surely there is a use for this.
I journeyed to our neighborhood post office to mail a copy of my book to an eager reader. The nice lady behind the counter inquired as to the content of the package, and I told her it was a book.
I am an inherently shy person, but I noted that I was the only customer in line so I uncharacteristically chose to be chatty and added, "Don't you recognize me? I'm the non-famous author of that book."
She politely took the bait, and I told her the title. She said, "That sounds interesting." And she started to write it down on a little yellow post-it pad, stopping only to ask how to spell 'peculiar.' She inquired how she'd find a copy. I told her it was available at Bruce Smith Drugs and on Amazon. Then the clerk at the next counter weighed in, "I think I'd like that also. How much does it cost?" Upon learning that this literary treasure could be had for the low, low, everyday price of $10, she said she'd buy one.
Pleased at this unexpected response, I told them to hold on, as I only live a few blocks away. I left for my fulfillment center, picked up two copies, returned, signed them, and walked off with sufficient funds to buy lunch. What a great day.
It's not too soon to start thinking about that perfect Christmas gift for someone you truly loathe. Copies of the fourth printing of NNAOPP are in inventory awaiting a new home. My able fulfillment center staff stand ready to handle the anticipated seasonal demand.
Go Royals 2015.