If lexophiles designed game shows
“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” — Rudyard Kipling
Those who know me well know also that I am an unabashed lexophile.
And no, that is not a confession.
Before my ever-growing throng of critics rush to launch into gossip mode (not enough stopping to Google or gasp!, actually find a dictionary), a lexophile is a lover of words, which is a most convenient thing in my case, considering that I make my living with them.
And since words are the way that we humans convey our ideas, transmit what we are thinking one to another, it strikes me that they are very good things with which to make one’s self familiar. Like anything else, some words are better than others, so the more of them you know, it seems to me, the more apt you might be to accurately convey your thoughts and understand those attempting to be conveyed by others.
This is particularly true with the written word, where the absence of any such familiarity is most evident. Witness social media.
So, how do we make words more important to the folks who need them whether they know it or not? Well, folks do like games. In particular, folks like game shows on TV.
And some of them even use words. As example, lets take “Jeopardy!”
“Jeopardy!” has really not been on TV all my life, it just seems that way. Another product of the late game show guru, Merv Griffin, it began in 1964, ran 11 years and then, after a little hiatus and a switch from Art Fleming to Alex Trebek as host, it has been running in syndication ever since — more than 7,000 episodes, in all.
(And no, I did not know this. I Googled it, which is one of those things you can also do whenever you encounter a word with which you are unfamiliar. Do that a few times and you will find that you know the meanings of more words.)
As surely most folk know, on “Jeopardy!” contestants choose categories in which answers appear, for which they must form a correctly relevant question.
So for our little exercise, the sole intent of which is to make words more “fun,” let’s just stay with that same format but limit our categories to the goal at hand — something like “Wacky Words.”
As in “I’ll take Wacky Words for $100, Alex…”
And in today’s episode, Wacky Words turns out to be words that sound like they ought to mean something other than they actually do. I think you will catch on pretty quickly and in so doing it will tend to make you look at words a little differently, and hence, maybe, just maybe, become a little more familiar with them, thereby.
That may be a bit ambitious to think, but on the other hand, it can’t hurt. Here goes:
• arbitraitor — A cook that leaves Arbys to work at McDonalds.
• avoidable —W hat a bullfighter tries to do.
• burglarize — What enables a crook to see.
• eyedropper — A clumsy ophthalmologist.
• Bernadette — The act of torching a mortgage.
• control — (Wait for it.) A short, ugly inmate arrested under a bridge.
• counterfitter — Subcontractors hired to put together kitchen cabinets.
• heroes —What a man in a boat does if he wants to get anywhere.
• parasites — What a tourist is able to see from atop the Eiffel Tower.
• paradox — Two physicians.
• pharmacist — A person who helps out around the farm.
• polarize — What penguins see through.
• relief — What healthy trees tend to do every spring.
• rubberneck — What you might do to try to put your wife in a good mood.
• selfish — What the owner of a seafood store tries to do.
• Sudafed — Brought litigation against a U.S. government official
• Paradigms — (This one is gonna hurt.) Twenty cents.
And yes, I know that puns are said to be the lowest form of humor and I know that some of those are just pretty awful, but the New York Times crossword has been around for years and the only folks who even try to work it are the folks who already know and likely are already fond of words.
This was at least an attempt to get the interest of everybody else.
And yes, there are varied medium representations of Don Quixote all over my house. I am a sucker for lost causes.
Ray Mosby is editor and publisher of the Deer Creek Pilot in Rolling Fork.