by Harmony Button
This essay is the first in our new feature “This Word Is” where writers meditate on a single word and its meaning through sound and memory, anecdote and etymology.
One Sunday morning, my brother and I woke up early and, while our parents were still asleep, we changed all the clocks in the house an hour forward.
“Oh well,” we said, when the adults came downstairs. “I guess we’ve missed church today. There should be scrambled eggs and Smurfs instead.”
By the time they figured it out, we really had missed the service.
This move became known as “pulling a church” or “churching it.” My wary, clever mother learned to ask if I was “churching one over” on her.
I tried, but unfortunately, it never worked again — not for the dentist, not for the doctor’s, and definitely not for church.