Reckless: Foolhardy. Rash. Daredevil. Hell-for-leather. Kamikaze.

Yeah, that was me this morning. Reckless. A grammar kamikaze. Impulsive and irresponsible and devil-may-care. So the Collegiate Thesaurus told me, partnering with Merriam-Webster online.

Whilst–I love whilst–looking up something on merriam-webster.com, the abridged site that features advertising and is open to anyone, as I do multiple times every day when writing or editing or just because, something caught my eye…some come-hither siren. It’s all a blur now–I can’t remember if it was luring me with a video on “None: singular or plural?” or seducing me with a ridiculously reasonable annual subscription to the Unabridged–Unabridged, it whisperedMerriam-Webster online, promising access to all those words I couldn’t get to in the open version, with no ads…. But, whatever the temptation, I was seized with a fit of reckless abandon and had forked over thirty bucks and was deeply ensconced in a video discussing the None question before I even knew the fit had taken me.

“Why not?” argued the voice in my head. [Freudian typo: voice came out vice the first time. Freudian typos are never wrong.] “You’re a professional, for heaven’s sake. You work with words for a living. Why wouldn’t you arm yourself with state-of-the-art tools?” And before I could blink, I had devoured not only the None video but also “22 Charming Names for Nasty People” (none of whom actually deserve charming names) and “12 Words That Secretly Come from Body Parts” and I knew I was in trouble.

Is there a 12-step program for word addiction? No–don’t tell me. If I’m a kamikaze, so be it: the only things I am giving my life to destroy are ignorance. Obscurity. The absence of beauty, poetry, and light in the written word. For now, my annual subscription to The Chicago Manual of Style online has company. She won’t have to be alone anymore. And I leave you with this enabling tidbit from the UMW on the origin of kamikaze:

“Japanese, literally, divine wind, from kami, god + kaze, wind”

If I was reckless, impulsive, irresponsible–if it means I will spend more time clarifying sticky points of grammar or meaning for my clients and coming up for air half an hour later, wondering what day it is–I was driven by a divine wind. I’ll take my chances.

Photo by Nikolay Draganov

2 Thoughts on “Reckless? Or driven by a divine wind?”

  • Haha. Wonderful! I certainly can relate to your spell of philology. Without a dictionary on hand, I was taken with a fit this morning in the shower as I wrung out my underwear (rinsed out by hand, European style, in the bathtub). “Wring out.” Hmmm. I wonder if our English “ring” is originally derived from the German “wring.” Because when you wring something out — as in telling someone you’re very mad at: “I’m going to wring your neck,” — you are actually performing a circular motion, putting your hands around an object in the same way a ring encircles a finger. Too bad I didn’t have the time or inclination to go online and purchase a subscription to the dictionary, but I woulda if I coulda. Thanks for sharing!

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