Smoothing Over Scrutiny

Yesterday, I found out I didn’t make the cut for a writing gig. I half expected such, but somehow seeing the list of writers who did make it, nudged me into a writer’s pity-party. Then, my husband and I moved furniture between two floors last night and discombobulated the house as well as my psyche.

So, here it is Wednesday, which calls for a word of the day post. Wordsmith.org threw me for a loop with this week’s theme — miscellaneous words. I didn’t know what to expect this morning when I pulled up the site. After I read today’s word, my vision panned out from the laptop screen to me: standing at an open door, staring into a dark and empty room, hearing an echo when I asked my muse for any ideas.

“Hello?”

Her lack of answer told me she’s still recovering from yesterday’s pity-party. I’ll have to go on without her.

Today’s word is avoirdupois, a French word gone English. I took four semesters of French in college, documented only by my transcript and a vague memory of a late night phone message left on my friend Rick’s answering machine. He really did know how to speak French; I, through a filter of too-many-Amstel-Lights, babbled in misplaced accents and overdone R’s. Rick never returned my message, a quiet reprimand to stick to writing English.

Its roots in Old French, avoirdupois rolls off the tongue with class and style. But, in English, the word is a disguise for the truth. A noun, avoirdupois means the heaviness or weight of a person.

“Did you just see…?”
“Yeah.”
“Was that…?”
“Susan.”
“Did she…?”
“She did. But, you have to admit, she carries her avoirdupois with elegance.”

Or, on a more personal note, I’m reminded of my son’s recent side comment to me after my husband held his pants waist out and showed off the inches he’s lost since bumping up his running schedule:
“Mommy, maybe you should start running like daddy.”

He hasn’t learned to finesse in English discourse. But in my own defense, I’m a writer, not a runner.

And, some things you just can’t hide.

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7 responses to “Smoothing Over Scrutiny

  1. You’re hilarious! Maybe your son will take French and then no matter what he says it will echo with finesse.

    Regarding not making the cut … remember: taste carries quite a bit of avoirdupois. (I *think/hope* I’m using that correctly.)

  2. I love saying that word! I’ve never worked it into a conversation though, except with my husband when he asked about the difference between a “regular” ounce and a troy ounce.

    I’m embarrassed, humiliated, to admit how much weight I’ve gained while writing this last novel. Definitely, I could do with a little less avoirdupois.

    • It is a fun word to say! I’ll have to try throwing it into conversation with my husband. He’s usually one up on me with unusual vocabulary.

      By the way, what’s a troy ounce?

      • My husband is a coin and silver collector. A troy ounce is the measurement they use for precious metals. It weighs more than an avoirdupois ounce, but I’ve forgotten by how much.

  3. Feeling your writing pain, but remember–just scuttle back up that tree. I am not even going to try to pronounce that word. 🙂

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