This Word Is Cop

By Harmony Button

I had a pretty awesome childhood. My best friend Greg lived on a hill out in the middle of farm country with corn fields and grape vines and crab apples. In the fall, the trees would drop buckets of gnarly apples that would roll down the drive and collected in a soupy bank at the side of the street. This was back in the days when disgusting things were totally entertaining, so of course we poked at them, squealing at the worms and mush. We didn’t have The SnapChap or The Twittergram, so instead of taking pictures of ourselves pretending to eat nasty worm-apples, we had to get a little devious.

I don’t remember whose idea it was, but it didn’t take very much effort to relocate the sweet heap of semi-rotten fruit into a speed-bump-ish berm that spanned both lanes of Dublin Road. Then we crouched down behind the corn stalks in the field on the far side of the road and waited, gleefully, for the next vehicle. Continue reading

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A Little More Pirate Now

by Harmony Button

“A Little More Pirate Now” is part of our “This Word Is” feature.  Please see the submissions page for details, and then send us your words!

I’ve always loved a good heist story.  It starts with an underdog: usually someone clever and lovable with morals that don’t necessarily adhere to social standards.  Sometimes our hero has a dark past, but has worked hard to get back on the straight and narrow.  Sometimes this figure, heretofore innocent, has been so vastly wronged that the only avenue for justice is one of criminality.  The social system has failed, or has fallen into corruption, and Robin Hoodery is the only choice.  These are the honorable thieves, and they are cheeky, courageous and righteous in their cause. 

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This Word Is Church

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.

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This Word Is Earth

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.

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