My Week 191: Big Words, Flushed Away, My Superhero Posse

I like big words and I cannot lie.

I have a certain penchant for the multi-syllabic. I mean, why use a merely utilitarian word when a grandiose one will do? I have to be honest though—I don’t use unusual or archaic words in everyday conversation because I consciously think “Hey, it would really impress people if I said, ‘It’s not my forte’ as opposed to ‘It’s not my thing’”. I just really like words that are precise and carry a certain nuance, and I use them without even thinking about it, until someone looks at me and goes, “Huh?” Here are a couple of examples:

1) A few years ago, Ken and I were shopping for a new bedroom suite. We went to a local furniture store, and a very nice salesman started hovering, as they do, so we engaged him in conversation. When we told him we were looking for a king size headboard and footboard, he must have assumed we were tabloid celebrities who lived in Las Vegas because he immediately took us over to this incredibly overdone monstrosity in wood and gold lacquer.

Sales Guy: What about this set? It’s really stunning.
Me: I don’t know. It’s a little ostentatious.
Sales Guy: Austin who?
Me: Um, like ornate and pretentious.
Sales Guy: I don’t know any of those words.
Me: Super fancy?
Sales Guy: Oh, sure, I can see that. Maybe this one over here…

2) I was down in Ohio with my rugby team and we stopped at an ‘All You Can Eat’ pizza place. I’m always amazed by American restaurants, with their gigantic servings. The cost was $7 and people were piling their plates sky-high with pizza then coming back for more. I was with a group of teenaged rugby players, and they were in seventh heaven, as you can well imagine. But I couldn’t find any knives and forks, so I said to the woman behind the counter,” Can you tell me where the cutlery is?” She looked at me blankly for a moment, so I repeated, “I can’t find the cutlery”.

 Server (long pause): I don’t know that word.
Me: Oh, um—utensils? For eating?
Server: You mean like a fork?
Me: Yes! Exactly like a fork.
Server: Oh! They’re over there by the soda.
Me: The what? Oh, you mean the pop? Thanks!

And this wasn’t me being a dick, seriously. For example, when you call Swiss Chalet here in Ontario to order take-out, the last thing they ask you before your order is complete is “Would you like condiments and utensils?” and you’re expected to know what that sh*t is or you don’t get your chicken.

But just because I like big words, doesn’t mean I’m actually smart in other ways. The other day, I was in a meeting with a director and some other managers (all women, thank goodness), and we were talking about some catering we’d just had. The catering company served Montreal Smoked Meat sandwiches almost every day, and I referred to it as ‘ubiquitous’, at which point, someone turned to me and said, “That’s a big word.” I replied, “Sorry, I meant, like, ‘monotonous”. But then the meeting continued and it went on for a while. I’d been drinking a LOT of green tea that morning, so when we got to the last item on the agenda, I said, “Will this be a long one? I have to use the Ladies, so if the answer’s ‘Yes’, I’ll just pop out really quickly.”

The director said, “Oh, just use the one in here.” For context, we weren’t having the meeting IN a bathroom—we were in a boardroom that actually had a full bathroom with a shower in it, for some bizarre and unknown reason. We all made jokes about how no one would listen to me, but for good measure, I turned the faucet on high just to drown out any obvious noise. When I was finished, I stood up, turned around, and was at a complete loss. There was no discernable way to flush the toilet. No lever, no handle, no button, nothing. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t stay in there forever—I mean, I was in the middle of a f*cking meeting. People were LITERALLY waiting for me to come out. So finally, I opened the door and stood there.

Director: What’s wrong?
Me: I—I don’t know how to flush the toilet…
Everyone: What?!
Me: There’s no mechanism that I can see whatsoever. I don’t know how to flush it.

One of the managers jumped up and came into the bathroom with me. She looked around and pressed a switch. The lights went off. She turned the lights back on, then we both stood there looking at the toilet.

Manager: She’s right. There’s no handle.
Director (coming over): No, there has to be.

Then we all stood there staring at the toilet. Finally, the director crouched down and looked around. “I think I see something!” she said. She reached around the back of the toilet and pushed a button, at which point the damned toilet flushed, and everyone dissolved into hysterical laughter.

Director: And now we all know how to flush this toilet.
Me: Indubitably. I mean, “Yup.”

Me and My Superhero Posse

On Thursday night, my train was an hour and a half late. We finally boarded, and I was talking to Ken on the phone when I found out that not only had I been seated in a foursome, which I hate, but also that he had just bought some antique windows for me, and one of the panes was broken.

Me: Are you f*cking kidding me?
Ken: The lady was really sorry. It broke in her car. She knocked five dollars off the price.
Me: Five dollars?! What am I supposed to do with a window with a broken pane?
Ken: We can fix it.
Me: OK. Sigh. Sorry. I’m really tired and a little punchy.

At which point I said to the three women sitting in the foursome with me: “Just to clarify—I won’t actually be punching anyone.” They all smiled and one of them said, “Oh, that’s OK”, like if I DID punch someone, she would be fine with it. They seemed like nice ladies. But because we were sitting in the back foursome, we were jointly responsible for breaking the window and helping people out of the train if it derailed, according to the conductor who explained how to get the hammer out of the box mounted above the window. Then I realized that the sticker on the window by the box looked exactly like Thor’s Hammer, and I said to the woman next to me, “Do you think if you just say ‘Hammer’, it will come flying out of the box right into your hand?” because why the hell WOULDN’T anyone wonder that, but she just kind of looked at me and shrugged, so obviously she was NOT going to be in my superhero gang.

Mjolnir, come here!

But now, I was not only tired, but a little sad at the thought that I didn’t have a superhero crew like Deadpool or Tony Stark or Starlord, so I messaged my friend M from work:

I was originally going to call myself Captain Middle-Aged Woman, but the superpowers of being financially responsible and possessing comfortable walking shoes didn’t seem like skills you would need in a fight against a supervillain unless it was Millennial Girl, and also M had some awesome ideas about our outerwear:

And it was nice to know that, on a day where work had been long and stressful, and the train was really late, that I, Trainwine, have friends who wouldn’t hesitate to be part of my superhero posse. I had a name for M, but I think in retrospect, I’m calling her “The Kickboxer”, because she broke her foot a while ago playing soccer, but she still went to kickboxing (here’s her blogsite–she just started out, so give her a read: I Left My Dress In the Fridge  ). We also decided our other friend should be “Italian Thunder” because she brings the boom AND the pasta to the party. So look out supervillains—Trainwine and her posse are coming (at least if it’s before 11 pm and it’s not raining because as everyone knows, I don’t dry well).  And if you, dear reader, want me to give you your own superhero name, ask for it in the comments and I will oblige. I think that just might be my idiom. Indubitably.

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49 thoughts on “My Week 191: Big Words, Flushed Away, My Superhero Posse

  1. Have you not seen The Incredibles? Don’t you know you shouldn’t wear a cape? And that reminds me of an old friend. Whenever I’d ask him, “Have you seen this movie?” he’d say, “IS IT MISSING?” If he were a superhero he’d be The Smartass, or maybe that would be a supervillain. Or one of those morally ambiguous types.
    As for me I’d be The Enabler, so you’d want me in your superhero posse because I will come up with some really good justifications for you punching someone.
    For instance I’d be right there with you if you punched whoever designed that toilet. And maybe a salesperson who should know what “ostentatious” means. There’s your power: you punch knowledge into people.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Um, I know you said that you like fancy words but I thought you were going to go down the ‘anti-disestablishmentarianism’ route (it’s to do with the argument to dis-establish the Church of Ireland in the 19th century, but I’m sure you knew that) rather than ‘cutlery’ and ‘ornate’. I mean, these are just words, surely? I think whoever of your gang knows the fanciest words ought to have the superhero name of “Lexicon”.
    As for the event on the train, it would have been cooler if you’d said “To me, Mjölnir!” which I would have laughed at even if your assembled ladies didn’t.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I know—I was trying to make the point that most fancy words are just regular unless the person you’re talking to doesn’t know them! I like Lexicon—I have someone in mind for that already. You, of course, are Babbitman.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Indeed I am, fair maid. Full of the power of a thousand babbits.
        This lack of knowledge of fairly basic words is a pretty shocking indictment of just how little someone reads. It also shows up when people misquote a famous saying because all they have to go on is the sound, as they haven’t seen it written down, or haven’t actually thought it through. A UK comedian called Dave Gorman stumbled across some on social media and then went looking for more. He found a lot of: “like a bowl in a china shop”, “used as an escape goat”, “it’s his famous cat phrase”, “it’s a doggy dog world out there”, “that was a bit of a damp squid”, “right from the gecko”.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. I love vocabulary too, I can’t help myself. A couple of weeks ago, at a friend’s house, we were arguing about common french expressions used in English. He hates them, I don’t mind them (we’re both French Canadian). He pressed me on why I would use one in particular (can’t remember which) rather than a jumble of English words that meant roughly the equivalent and I said “it’s just more elegant,” to which he immediately objected.
    There’s more than one meaning to elegant, Luc! It’s not just dresses that can be elegant – MATH can be elegant! I’m taking that word back.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You didn’t ask for a superhero name but I’m giving you one anyway. I hereby dub you Cinema. Your superpower is keen scrutiny. Also, you have lasers in your eyes, so you’ll be a tremendous asset to the posse.

      Like

    • I really appreciate you saying this. Life is so absurd sometimes (like the flush scenario, which is 100% accurate except I left out the final statement from one of the managers which was “Thank god it wasn’t a number two!” just in case people from work read my blog). I guess I’m blessed with a weird life, or at least with the ability to appreciate its weirdness!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I was also going to say something about capes… no capes!

    I would certainly open that emergency exit if Thor’s on the other side. It’s like, “In case of emergency, Thor will come to you.”

    I think I’m having an emergency.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I also love your style. I will look up the refrigerated dress woman, because I’ve actually been there, and other places menopause, if that’s the reference, takes you. I love the hammer discussion. But I love superheroes.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. You sound so erudite! Love this! Can I have a Super Posse/Super Hero name, too? Is it just me or does Lexicon sound like a villian’s name? It’s not, obviously, it just sounds like one. My blog is called Wayward Sparkles, but I don’t want to be known as Sparkles. Not bad if that’s your stripper name, not that there’s anything wrong with being a stripper or having that name, no judgments here, it just doesn’t fit me for my superhero name. Besides, I already have a different stripper name — not that I’m a stripper. But if I were, I’d be known as Angel Talisman! Anyway, I’ll shut up now!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. GJ says:

    I LOVED Kickboxer’s (M) blog. It is excellent. I read it all and it seems like Trainwine (S) is the mentor/manager who suggested she write it, yes? If you need a 65 year-old female, super sleuth, posse member, living on the left coast of CA, I’m in. What’s my name?
    I was on Amazon earlier today and noticed they only have two more copies of your book available. I hope that means it was a best seller. I enjoyed reading it when it first came out and look forward to more in the future by either of you. I have an old movie recommendation (about writers) for each of you. I don’t know if it was released in Canada or is currently available. I will check and let you know.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your superhero name is “Cali G” because you’re Californian and you are definitely gangster. Welcome to the posse! Thanks for letting me know about the book–I have no idea how sales are going–maybe better not to know, lol, but I’m so happy you liked it!

      Like

  8. Kendra Lee says:

    Whoa! Superhero names?!? I want in! I am not sure what superhero skills I have… I mean, I mom like a champ for one particularly charming 7 year old. But I almost never wear a cape while I’m doing that. My blog is called Rocket Fuel, but that has more to do with coffee than actual rockets (or fuel). Is drinking coffee a superpower? I’m real, real good at that….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my god, you already have the best superhero name ever. You are “Rocket Fuel” and your superpower is speed and insightfulness (I just read your blog—now following—and you are definitely insightful as well as jet propelled!)

      Like

  9. Dammit. I read this amazing entry 3 minutes before I have to hit the lavatory and then perambulate with cynomorphic accompaniment. I don’t have time to play the “big word” game right now!

    But I must know, can I be in the posse and what aliastic moniker wouldst thou bestow ‘pon me?!

    *PS, at least one word above is of entirely new creation. Don’t judge!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. We need to be neighbors. We share similar humor, cop attitudes at the same things, and find amusement and (mis)adventure in all the same nooks and crannies. You’d be the lead superhero of our little neighborhood posse because you’re cooler and super talented of course, but you could do worse for a sidekick. I’ve always wanted a sash, but I could probably get used to a cape too.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ha ha! This is so fun to read. You are amazing. I love reading the dictionary and I love discovering complex words but I don’t normally use then in a conversation. Ha ha. Cutlery? Who doesn’t know that word? Ha ha. Can you please try to follow my blog page, if you don’t mind. I would love to connect with you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m responding here again in the hopes you rammed that “not spam” button hard enough to revive my superhero career. I hate getting flushed away. I hate hating, too. I also hate the word “gasconading” because it’s a big, dumb word.

    Fingers are crossed. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Having reached the age where words disappear from my brain mid-sentence, I’ll sometimes use a fancy word out of sheer desperation, because the everyday one is on vacation. I hate it. On the other hand, I’m grateful to English for having layers and layers of words that mean more or less the same thing. I don’t know what people do in languages that don’t have that.

    Liked by 1 person

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