Honor System

Prompt: Honor


Hello Wednesday,

It was my parents’ wedding anniversary yesterday. Were they still alive, it would have been their… 700th or so, which is not diamond or paper anniversary but I believe is celebrated by presenting one another with life-viable planets. I mean, it has to be extra-special to stay wed for so long, right?

So they would each have had possession of a planet that could conceivably be a location for, say, space vacations, providing there was a water slide or similar amenity. Either one could also act as a back-up planet for this one, for a reasonable fee. If only all anniversary symbols were so practical.

They would get to name their planets. My mother would probably call hers “Sophie” while my dad would likely go for “Omphaloskepsis” or other cool-sounding, obscure word, since he liked puzzles and dictionaries. He liked dictionaries he could hold in his hand, not Google search screens. At my parents’ home there was a shelf under the living room window stocked with several dictionaries, a three-volume encyclopedia, almanac, Book of World Records, Thesaurus, atlas, and a French-English dictionary (we’re Canadian, what can I say). These books were called Argument Stoppers.

My mother liked words too but preferred the meditative arts to crossword puzzles: she embroidered, knit, crocheted, quilted, baked, canned.. and basically excelled at all the lost arts. Planet Sophie would look nice and have great food.

If my parents were here with me now, in my humble living room, my mother would be doing handwork by the fire and my dad would be working on a cryptic crossword, surrounded by Argument Stoppers, occasionally challenging me with a clue. My mother would also be doling out advice— strangely enough, advice I likely asked for. She was good at advice.

I would be here at my laptop, missing them terribly.

Well now, in honour of honour, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons that honour the prompt’s American spelling, “honor”?

cartoon tsa honor

cartoon trump honor

cartoon alleged killer whale


Peace and love,

~~FP

The Devil’s Dictionary

Prompt: Ovation

pickle

If you write, or simply love words, you have to admire the author of an oeuvre called The Devil’s Dictionary. Ambrose Bierce’s publication was originally called The Cynic’s Word Book (not quite as catchy) and contains his wry collection of satirical definitions that still hold up after 100 years. (Will we be read in 2116?)

Conservative: A statesman who is enamoured of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.

War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography.

Sweater: a garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly.

Corporation: An ingenious device for obtaining profit without individual responsibility.

Life:  A spiritual pickle preserving the body from decay.

Patience: A minor form of despair, disguised as a virtue.

Egotist: a person more interested in himself than in me.

Ambrose Bierce also included this cryptic (to me) definition of ovation, name-dropping the inimitable Dudley Spink*. Not every entry is a pithy gem:

Ovation: In ancient Rome, a definite, formal pageant in honor of one who had been disserviceable to the enemies of the nation. A lesser “triumph.” In modern English the word is improperly used to signify any loose and spontaneous expression of popular homage to the hero of the hour and place.

“I had an ovation!” the actor man said,
But I thought it uncommonly queer,
That people and critics by him had been led
By the ear.

The Latin lexicon makes his absurd
Assertion as plain as a peg;
In “ovum” we find the true root of the word.
It means egg.

Dudley Spink


*No clue, really, about Dudley Spink.