By Mims Cushing
I have a friend whose high school freshman son is the bane of his existence. Why? Because it looks like he is not going to grow up to become him.
“My fear,” he says, “is that he will be a hermit and not have a lot of friends.”
My friend, I’ll call him Mark, is a hail-fellow-well-met kind of type. Very outgoing. Super friendly. Looking up that phrase on Google I find this. (I needed to check out the hyphens. Does the word really have that many hyphens? It does.) Slurping down the definition I find it is a “somewhat archaic English idiom referring to a person whose behavior is hearty, friendly, but usually in a superficial or insincere way.” Interesting…
Mark doesn’t have enough fingers, toes, and body parts to add up all the friends he has. Which is fine with me. If there is a party within a 20 mile radius from where he lives, he is out the door and on his way. Recently he asked me three or four times if I wanted to go with him to a party. I responded, three or four times, “No.”
And then there are people like — I’ll call his son Allen — who would rather ditch a party and cozy up with one buddy, or a great book or, because he is young, a hot game of tennis.
As a kid, my type of heaven was to play the piano all afternoon and read a good book. I do the same thing today. Minus the piano. It’s hard to practice piano if you don’t have one.
Maybe it’s geeky and maybe that’s what I am, but I am a happy geek. A happy geek revolving around words. Actually, Merriam-Webster tells me the word for a person who loves words, not oddly enough, is — wait for it — a wordie!
The other day I came across the word “paraprosdokians.” I like to think of it as an Armenian word, because it ends in “ian,” but of course it isn’t. “The Paraprosdokians are coming to dinner.” Not.
Here is what it means: It’s a figure of speech “in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader to reframe or reinterpret the first part.” Paraprosdokians are frequently used in a humorous situation. “Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.” Another favorite is “Evening news is where they begin with ‘Good Evening,’ and then tell you why it isn’t.”
I have nothing bad to say about people who go to parties, but it pleased me no end to learn that Paul Newman disliked parties intensely. I’ll bet he liked to read instead. And then I started discovering a ton of actors who don’t like soirees and consider themselves homebodies.
I guess you could qualify me as a homebody. But I do take the garbage out.