Alas, another vast gap in the Annals1 of The Sesquipedalian.
I was sidetracked, once again, by the frenetic2 diversions of yet another vacation. This time I traveled to the very edge of the known world (or at least my known world) to a distant land known as New England, or, more specifically to Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
I traveled all the way across the width of the country for two reasons:
1) To visit an incredible friend who lives in Pennsylvania and who I see, tragically, only on rare occasions.
2) To go to a concert in Atlantic City, New Jersey, with the aforementioned3 friend.
As far as the first objective was concerned, the trip was an unequivocal4 success. I had a truly enjoyable visit with my friend and finally met her wonderful, wholly genial5 family. Too bad they live all the way on the other side of the country.
And as for the second motive for the trip? Well that, my dear readers, is a story fraught6 with deep sadness and profound disappointment, which was salvageable7 only by applying heavy doses of unrestrained laughter, several hours of meandering strolls along a sunlit boardwalk, a generous helping of animated conversation, a smattering8 of judicious9 gambling, and some rather liberal consumption of alcohol. For even as I was winging my way across the country my friend was receiving an email announcing that the concert in Atlantic City had been postponed until December.
The funny thing is, this same musician was in my area just weeks before and I would have gone to see him then, except at that point I was hundreds of miles away on vacation in Disneyland. Ironic10? Well, no, that probably doesn’t qualify as irony, but it could certainly be considered bad timing.
So, that’s my tale—the good and the bad. I was really looking forward to that concert, but I don’t think I can justify another trip across country next month. Although it would mean another visit with my friend…
Annals.1 “Come and listen to a story about a man named Jed…” Ah, those zany Clampetts. As a child I played witness to their mad escapades thanks to the magic of TV re-runs, watching as the chronicles (or annals, if you will) of this hillbilly family unfolded before my very eyes. Oh, and for my orthographically challenged readers, please, please remember that this word is spelled with TWO n’s.
Frenetic2. Picture yourself as a pinball. One moment you’re just sitting there, minding your own business, and then, “Wham!” without so much as a “Watch out, here it comes!” something hits you from behind and you’re thrust out into a whirlwind of lights, sounds, and dizzying motion. And you’re off! Ding!—you hit that flashing 100 point bumper and then go glancing off in another direction. Pow!—you slam against an obstacle in the middle of the machine—200 points, well done there—but now you’re sent blasting off on an entirely new bearing. You somehow manage to squeeze through a tiny opening, race along a chute so tight you’re afraid you might just end up wedged there forever, and then Ka-ching!—a spinning door and a hefty 500 points—and next thing you know you’re ricocheting back and forth from one goal on to the next—Ding! Ding! Ding! There’s no pausing, no stopping, and most of the time there’s no controlling where you’re going as you pelt along, although you might get an occasional shove from time to time if you start to fall. Whew, I’m exhausted just writing about it. And believe me, some days My Life=The Pinball Machine.
Aforementioned.3 I’m quite sure I already told you about that.
Unequivocal.4 This is like Johnny Cash. No matter how you feel about country music (and I definitely have mixed feelings about it), I don’t think you can question the power of Johnny’s music. Nothing else quite compares to it and nothing you say will lessen its appeal, at not least for me. Oh, and while I may have missed the concert in Atlantic City, I did get to see Johnny in concert—twice.
Genial.5 I might be tempted to say that Ronald McDonald is a great example of genial—always grinning widely and eager to strike up a friendship with anyone, especially the innocent child—but, on second thought, I think it would be more appropriate to use him as an example of creepy.
Fraught.6 So I ate breakfast this morning (a habit I highly recommend). Dispensing a serving of cereal, I shook the brown, fiber-packed flakes into the expectant void of a bone-white bowl and sent a wholesome stream of ice cold milk cascading down into its midst. Hoisting a spoonful of the crunchy, soon-to-be-soggy, mixture to my lips, I eagerly took my first bite. But wait! What’s this chewy, sweet, dark nugget nestled in the middle of my milk-moistened flakes? Another bite—this time there are two little nuggets—a third bite—two more nuggets! Bite after bite yields nugget after nugget. There’s seemingly no end to them. But then, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised to find that my Raisin Bran is fraught with raisins.
Salvageable.7 What a mess! It’s broken and mangled and probably unusable—but wait! This part looks pretty good. And this piece—see, right here—is actually in perfect condition. Actually that section doesn’t look too bad. Maybe with a little tape and glue, and perhaps a little paint, my mom won’t even notice…
Smattering.8 This sounds an awful lot like spattering and maybe that’s not a bad way to look at it. If you think of spattering paint on a wall—that’s it, just a little bit on the brush and let it fly—you can sort of get a visual picture. Because with spattering, you just get a few flecks of paint, but the wall is still mostly blank, and with smattering you just get a little bit of this or that, yet you haven’t even begun to explore the possibilities (or cover the wall).
Judicious.9 You might be more familiar with this fellow’s older brother, Judge. Born of the same mother, a Latin beauty by the name of Iūdicem, they share many of the same characteristics, including a shrewd eye for details and a rather sober personality. They’re fairly easy to tell apart, however. While Judge can be seen observing and evaluating others with a cool, calculating glint in his eye, Judicious turns this appraisal inward and examines his own actions with a keen gaze. He is always asking himself such piercing questions as: “Am I doing the right thing?” or “How much is too much, or too little?” All in all, probably not a pair likely to liven up your New Year’s Eve party, but they carry a certain influence in more solemn climates.
Ironic.10 Now this is a hard one to get a hold of—kind of slippery and a bit larger and more robust than you expected—rather like a Moray Eel (not that I’d recommend trying to grab hold of one of those bad boys). So often I hear people say something like, “Wow, we both like the same kind of cookies. Isn’t that ironic?”—okay, maybe that’s a silly example, but I’ve heard some pretty silly ones, believe me—and I think, “Well, no, actually that’s merely coincidental.” And in truth it’s often easier to think of what is not ironic, rather than what is. But I’m going to try to give some examples from my favorite space opera (ignoring the three most recent installments, because they do not warrant consideration in my world). So, here goes. 1) After a series of mishaps, in which they part company and then are miraculously reunited, C3PO and R2D2 both happen to end up in Luke Skywalker’s possession. Irony? No, but I believe you could call that Destiny. 2) Luke and Obi Wan Kenobi are introduced to Han Solo and Chewbacca—two individuals who become pivotal players in their rescue and who are eventually instrumental in bringing victory to the Rebel Alliance—in a sleazy cantina. Irony? Nope, but it was really, really fortuitous. 3) Han Solo parks the Millennium Falcon on perhaps the only asteroid in the universe inhabited by a giant space worm? Irony? Actually, I’d chalk that one up as a freakishly improbable coincidence. 4) Luke Skywalker finds out that Darth Vader, his worst nightmare of an enemy (at least until he meets Emperor Palpatine), is really his father. Irony? Yes, I think that could qualify as irony—in fact such an epic, mind freaking irony that it might make one want to howl, “That’s Impossible!” Well, I’m sure that’s as clear as the carbonite in which Han Solo was encased. Thank you for visiting my geekdom. Please come again.