Thursday, December 13, 2012

Who's Crazy Now?

So yesterday I sent a document to Los Angeles in which I used the phrase "those tall pointy hats with the gauzy material hanging down." I claimed during the subsequent video conference that I couldn't figure out how to look up the proper name for those hats, and then Kent (who was on the other end of the call) just hopped on the "google" and IMMEDIATELY "googled" it up by entering the search phrase "medieval pointy hat." It's a hennin! And here I am, a guy who prides himself on being one of the world's finest "googlers." You know, I didn't really make an effort. I'm so ashamed. I am trying to console myself with the idea that nobody would know what you meant if you dropped the word "hennin" in a conversation anyway. Like, if you said something about a hennin, they would be like, "What's a hennin?" And you'd have to be like, "Well, it's one of those those tall pointy hats with the gauzy material hanging down," so knowing that word really doesn't do you any good at all, because isn't that how the conversation would go? Learning is for suckers! Well, except for my awesome friend Mary in the English Department. I imagine her always staring into a huge dusty book with a picture of a lady in an elaborate hennin on one of the pages, because I'm pretty sure that's what she does all day and all night too, and if I walked into the cell-like room with a high window where I'm assuming she does this and said, "Hey, get a load of that hennin!" she'd know just what I meant, but she's the only one, right? Also in the video conference, the pronunciation of "conical" came up (in connection with hennins) and I was suddenly and irrationally terrified that I might have been pronouncing "conical" incorrectly all these years, culminating in a video conference where brilliant creative professionals could hear me mispronouncing "conical" clear across this great nation we call home! But later I looked it up in my WEBSTER'S NEW TWENTIETH CENTURY DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, UNABRIDGED, SECOND EDITION from 1974 and it turns out I've been doing just fine with "conical," pronouncing it quite perfectly, in fact, though a glance at the next column informs me I haven't been doing so well with "conifer." There was no animosity involved in the former case, of course, but I am reminded of the time a student - A STUDENT! - called me out rather smirkingly in front of the whole class for mispronouncing "whilst," but I WASN'T. I WASN'T MISPRONOUNCING WHILST. You know who was mispronouncing "whilst"? HE WAS. So who's crazy NOW? Who's crazy now, jerk from several years ago who doesn't read this "blog" and wouldn't even remember what I'm talking about if he did? WHO'S CRAZY NOW?