Monday, May 30, 2005

A Confession

As many of you regular readers know, my wonderful wife (who I would never intentionally offend, though I’ve managed to do so several times in our long, near-perfect marriage) is NOT a big fan of my blog. (Understatement.)

She does, however, support me in my attempts to become a published author. She is an English major and a perfectionist. I am an English major, but one for whom “close enough” works just fine.

I am comfortable with writing that sounds OK even if, strictly speaking, it isn’t “correct.” She, on the other hand, has little patience for blatant misuse of the English language.

This morning she walked into our “school room” (so named because this extra bedroom in our house was set up 20 years ago as a place where she could home-school our two daughters—more on that another time) which houses our home office and computer. She found me gleefully typing away on a blog comment defending my use of the pseudo word “sillibance.”

Her bemused tolerance at my silliness turned into less-than-tolerant pique when she saw the comment from Christina in which our daughter seemed to acquiesce and agree that “sillibance” might be a legitimate word.

Now remember, Carol educated Christina. For me, her father, to deceive her into thinking that a made-up word was legitimate would be... well, dishonest!

Remember the old song by The Association called “Windy?” One line from that song’s lyrics always brings to mind my wife. The line goes:

And Windy has stormy eyes,
That flash at the sound of lies...

One thing Carol cannot stand is dishonesty.

She looked at me with that one-raised-eyebrow look and asked, “So, are you not going to admit that you’re stupid and just misspelled the word?”

My arguments that it was all in fun, tongue in cheek, etc., fell on deaf ears. I even tried, “Oh, Christina knows ‘sillibance’ isn’t a real word. She’s just going along with the joke.” Didn’t work.

As the tee-shirt slogan says, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t NOBODY happy!”

So, to all of you (or maybe both of you) faithful readers, here’s my confession: I wanted to use the word “sibilance.” I had a “senior moment” when I wasn’t sure if the word was “sibilance” or “sillibance,” so I Googled “sllibance” and found a bunch (7) of listings and, being in a hurry to post the comment, I used it.

Mea culpa! Then, when (inevitably) my error was gleefully pointed out by Karyn “the foil” Lyndon (Thanks a LOT, Karyn!), I tried to cover up my ignorance.

Confession is supposed to be good for the soul. I’m not sure.

I was feeling a lot more gleeful when I was (successfully, I thought) defending my ignorance with bluster and obfuscation.

(Another quote: "If you're right, pound the facts. If you're wrong, pound the table.")

But Carol is happier. She’d much rather that all of my readers think her husband to be addle-headed or ignorant than dishonest!


Christina said...

So I WAS right!!! After I read Karyn's comment about Google picking up common misspellings (good point, Karyn), I started to suspect. Tell Mom thanks for the great education. Others did question the definition, but I was the only one to actually point out the correct spelling.

Christina said...

And no, I wasn't going along with your joke. I fell for it.

Karyn Lyndon said...

You're not really telling us anything new. We were already quite certain of your addle-headed-ness.

But, alas...some good has come of this.

"I will NEVER forget what sibilance means OR how to spell it," she says as sure fingers slowly surround her mouse and she suddenly clicks "Publish."

Duke_of_Earle said...

Not sure if that's actual "sibilance" or just "silly-bance." Ha! Google THAT!

Robin said...

What a foul fowl crow is! Sorry you had to eat it.

Christina said...

If you Google "sillibance" now, the first thing to come up is your blog! Some might say you are now guilty of "propagating" ignorance and misuse of the English language.

Duke_of_Earle said...

Some might.

I prefer to think that I am aiding in expanding the range of our English language, along with other pioneers (who can't spell).

Just wait until the next unabridged dictionary is published that includes "sillibance" as an alternate spelling, based on common usage. This blog will than have had a part in shaping our language!

I may just see what OTHER new words or word-forms I can create.

And Robin, for a Robin to call a crow a fowl seems to be a foul in itself. (For what it's worth, I eat crow with some regularity -- in a figurative sense. The taste improves with frequent application.)

Karyn Lyndon said...

Did somebody say propagating?

Michelle said...

Can't stop .... got to go study my dictionary.