Friday, August 29, 2008

25-cent words and my predilection to them.

I like to think I have a good vocabulary. I've read a lot of books, taken a lot of classes and written a heck of a lot of papers. I don't like using the same word in the same or next sentence to describe something, so I'm often going to the thesaurus to figure out a different and sometimes better way of describing something.

Generally I avoid 25-cent words when I write - for work or for my blogs - because I think using them can come off as being pretentious. Plus my blogs are for fun, not to show off how smart I think I am (And I am, dontcha know? Hey, I replaced my laptop keyboard!).

At work, we write to the masses, so I eliminate all use of words like, oh, usage (in lieu of 'use,' which is less fancy, but says the exact same thing), and I don't know how many 'that's' I delete on a daily basis (you really don't need to use 'that' as often as you do), and fluffy fluff that is all filler and says absolutely nothing. I just want the message to be clear and understandable by Joe in the scanning room to Sally in the executive office.

However when I talk to people, I do tend to sound like a pretentious jerk at times. Not that I mean to, it's just how I am. It's way easier for me to edit myself when I write than when I talk. And I'm often on the next sentence in my head while I'm saying the current sentence. And yes, I tend to not think before I talk.

Yesterday I was dropping Mateo off at daycare when one of the office ladies told me (again) that Mateo reminds her of her brother when her brother was a baby. Since she's told me this often enough, I figured I should be nice and ask her if she has a picture (this is another thing about me, I don't get those social "hints" - you know, when you're supposed to show interest in things - I'd rather continue on my merry way). You'll know when I like you because I won't leave you alone, other than that, I've got things to do.

"Oh, do you have a picture?" I asked.

"I think so...," she said. She got up and grabbed her purse. She pulled out her wallet and walked into the lobby of the office.

Her wallet was opened to two pictures, both with sepia-toned pictures of some chubby white kid with a similar cropped haircut as Mateo. However, Mateo is not chubby (and I’m talking chubby here) nor is he full-on white, and right now, his skin color is a nice creamy caramel color from being in the sun (and yes, I put sun block on him daily). So I’m a little put off when someone says my kid looks like a sepia-toned fat, white kid. Not that you’d think Mateo was anything but white, but I’m rooting for some of his Mexican genes to finally come out so my husband doesn’t have to keep saying Mateo only has his hair type (which he doesn’t, but don’t tell him that).

Because I didn’t think Mateo looked like her brother, and because I don’t often dabble in social niceties, I did the one thing I know how to do and do well: I threw out a 25-cent word to confuse everyone!

I looked down at Mateo and said, “Oh, look, you have a doppelganger!”

Now, the true meaning of ‘doppelganger’ is an identical replica of you, out there in the world, doing either good or evil deeds (depends on what you’re doing at the moment: good? evil?). It’s like a twin, but it’s not a twin in the true sense. And the way I used the term was technically incorrect, and I know that, but I like using the term because it’s more fun to say doppelganger than it is twins, and twins are so, well, common place nowadays (sorry D and T, but you’re both awfully cute).

The office lady looked at me and said, “I don’t know what that is.”

Then I felt slightly stupid for saying it because it’s not that I think she’s stupid by any means, but why would I say that? Except for the fact that I’m a pretentious jerk and I don’t think before talking and can’t follow the social niceties game.

“Oh. It basically means twin,” I said.

“Oh, twin,” she replied.

“But there’s more to it than that,” I said. But I didn’t expand on what the “more” is because again, I’m a jerk.

She stood there, staring at me, and probably thinking, “That poor child. Having a mom like that, she’s soooo pretentious!”

“Okay, well, Mateo needs his breakfast,” I said. And left. And left her there probably thinking I’m really odd.

When I told my mom about my usage use of the 25-cent word ‘doppelganger,’ my mom said she didn’t know what it meant.

I think I should just shut up for a bit.

1 comment:

Kmommy said...

LOL! I can totally understand ya there. Apparently neither one had seen the B horror flick "Doppelganger." Probably a good thing the lady at the daycare hadn't ;)