Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Lloyd Dobler can thumb through my dictionary any day.

Sometimes (okay, most times) when I'm looking up a word in the dictionary, I think about that scene in Say Anything where Lloyd sees Diane's dictionary, the one that's FULL of X's because she's marked an X next to every word she's ever looked up, and as he flips through the pages he sees that she's a major league word-looker-upper.

When I first saw this scene I thought, that is soooooo cool! I want to do that! And one day I'll be able to look back on all the words I've looked up and realize I'm that much smarter!

Sounds kind of geeky, I know, but I thought it'd be a fun game to play, just me and my pal Dic. I still think it'd be fun, especially when I'm looking up obscure words while reading my Ellery Queen novels. Those books would produce a lot of X's for my dictionary. So collecting all these X's would be fun, yes, but unnerving too, in a paranoid 'I'll-Never-Get-Elected-If-They-Find-My-Teletubby-Snuff-Film-So-I'll-Just-Burn-The-Whole-Damn-House-Down' sort of way.

It's because of this little voice of paranoia that I have yet to mark off one single looked-up word.

Because what if someone else actually sees my dictionary? *gasp* And they see what words I had to consult the dictionary for? And what if they see that I put an X next to the word 'cabbage' and they laugh at how stupid I am for not knowing such a simple word as cabbage! I'd be mortified!!!

Well, maybe not mortified, but at least slightly embarrassed. And slightly defensive, because there'd no context behind that X. The person laughing won't know that I knew what the word cabbage meant and they won't know that I was just getting clarification on all definitions of the word so that I could better understand what I was reading!

I know what your saying. Just don't put the mark next to cabbage then! But if I'm going to record what words I look up I'm not going to do it half-assed and only mark the words that make me look good. What would be the point? (And besides, what if I can't tell what words are from the Simple-As-Cabbage category! Eek!)

Now, don't y'all go thinking I don't know what the word cabbage means! It's just an example because I couldn't think of a word that I knew, in context, but wasn't quite sure of its exact meaning. I came across a few of those kinds of words this past weekend while doing my homework (which consisted of a Butt Load [highly technical form of measurement] of reading). Luckily, I had my handy dandy new dictionary by my side.

The dictionary came ceran-wrapped with the three volumes of literature anthologies I had to buy for my Brit Lit class. I didn't mind the additional cost because the last dictionary I bought is about ten years old now. Oh how good it feels to be updated on the vocab front! :)

So I have this brand new dictionary, which saw a lot of action last weekend, and as I cracked it open for the first time in order to look up my very first word of the day I thought:

Hey, I should mark an X next to each word I look up, sort of in a 'Christening The New Dictionary' fashion. It'll be my Words I Looked Up In College (Not Including Those First Three Years) dictionary. And the birds will twitter and the bunnies will frolic and the self conscious llamas will throw caution to the wind and dance around in unflattering leotards and all will be good and merry in the Land of Me.

And then I thought:

But what if I run for election one day and Access Hollywood finds my dictionary and tells everyone that I once had to look up the word 'leotard'?! I'll be the laughing stock of the political world and Murphy Brown will dump thousands of leotards on my front porch and my dreams of milking my constituents for billions of dollars will be crushed like a pair of llama nads in an undersized leotard!

So I didn't do it. Sigh. Maybe one day, when I'm old and forgetful, I'll start marking what words I look up. That way, if I come across a word I've already marked, I'll know I'll need to up my brain booster meds.

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