Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pell-mell and golden thoughts

Okay, linguistic story time with Nela. All in all this blog is entitled Words and Some Punctuation and while I feel like punctuation has been conspiring some nasty scam against me, words is something I quite enjoy talking about.

So let's talk about words. Starting with:

pell-mell [ˈpɛlˈmɛl]
1. in a confused headlong rush the hounds ran pell-mell into the yard
2. in a disorderly manner the things were piled pell-mell in the room
disordered; tumultuous a pell-mell rush for the exit
disorder; confusion
[from Old French pesle-mesle, jingle based on mesler to meddle]

So in middle school, we had these survey notebooks. I don't know if it was big in any other country, but at some point everybody had one. On the first pages you wrote an interminable list of ludicrous and far-fetchedly 'witty' questions and everybody whom you gave the notebook to, had to stick an envelope with the answers to its pages. In my circle of friends (which, needless to say, was not based at my school) we grew to call these "pele-mele", a word that didn't exist. Nobody really knew why we called them that and it was only today that my friend learnt about what pele-mele means in French (non-accidentally in English as well). All the other people called the notebooks 'golden thoughts'. Again, needless to mention that I felt pretty ostracized because I called them differently.

So like, conclusion...? Isn't calling something totally random, pointless and also something that's a platform for middle school castes forming 'golden thoughts' a little puffed-up? Or maybe that's the joke. I mean, you usually call 'golden thoughts' some quote from an important piece of literature, someone's last words or total cliches about life that end up being encouragement pillows. But really, if you choose the answers to questions like 'would you rather date Santa Claus or the Easter Hare' or 'milk first or cereal first?' to be something you're remembered for...? I don't know where I'm going. Honestly. Total lame-off. But still. Can't help thinking about which name it should be called.
I also feel sad because pell-mell is too cool a word not to be used, but it sounds totally farcical.

Digression item number one: another thing I discovered today, and it is a really interesting phenomenon - sometimes when I read a lot during the day, I don't feel really hungry. And that's not only because I don't need to use my energy for anything more than sitting/lazing around but because book lovers are usually so emotionally engaged in the story that reading does in fact tire. It's a feeling as if you literally ate words. Which, even it sounds cool, would mean just the opposite, etymology-wise (like, honestly, why is 'eating one's words' such a derogatory phrase?).

Digression item number two: I've been reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy all day today. It is amazing how many expressions for different kinds of road surfaces I got from this book.

Digression item number three: it is amazing how cats' memory doesn't work long term. Or maybe they're just very 'grasp the moment' kind of animals. My cats have eight and eleven years. And they're still mildly freaked-out when it's snowing. You know, jumping and catching the snow flakes. I feel like that deserves a video on the Internet. Oh wait, somebody already did that?!

Song of the day: Something Good Can Work - Two Door Cinema Club (a suggestion from Julie)

Verse of the day: Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. Philippians 2: 14-16

1 comment:

  1. I totally know that feeling of eating the words...
    When I was reading TFIOS, I read most of it in one sitting. I suddenly realized that it was almost 22:00 and I hadn't eaten anything or even realized that I was hungry. Then when I started preparing some food, the hunger just came down on me like some cartoon anvil!!
    Had no idea I was hungry, 'cause I was filling up on words.