By Harmony Button
Begin with a definition: we know where to go.
We become thoughtfully troubled that despite being called “The Dictionary,” there is not only one, but in fact, many, many different dictionaries. Like a child discovers that the authority of one parent does not always completely coincide with the authority of the other, so we find that The Dictionary offers a deceiving sense of unity.
We compare our parents. Merriam’s spine is cracked and tired, and her pages drag. We find the uncles online — Oxford & Cambridge — but they aren’t as popular as good ol’ daddy D-dot-com.
I introduce a source the students soon name “Ed” because the O is silent, like in Oedipus!
No, says another, his name is Owen. Maybe there’s another Owen in his class, so he just goes by Owie D.
I am secretly delighted. I make a note to self: in my free time, I should create a fake profile on some social media network under the name of Owie D, and only post smart and snarky etymological comments.
In my free time, I should drink less coffee, take more trail runs, sleep at least eight hours every night. In my free time, I should read books and write poems and make my own veggie soup bouillon. This is the myth of adulthood: there’s such a thing as time you get for free. There is always a price, always a something you are not doing, instead.