Monthly Archives: September 2002

WOTD: Infra dig

The word of the day is: infra dig. This is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase “infra dignitatem,” meaning that something is beneath one’s dignity.

Now, I can imagine myself saying ?infra dignitatem,? but not the abbreviated form that Merriam Webster suggests. ?Infra dig? sounds like the result of some Ivy League law school?s student body being swept up in the disco culture of the 1970s, you dig? Groovy.

I?m trying to think of the last thing that I declined to do because I thought it was beneath my dignity. I was at a wedding two weeks ago where I didn?t do much dancing for fear of looking stupid: I guess that counts as an attempt to protect my dignity, huh? And specifically with regard to line dances like the Electric Slide, I?m not going anywhere near that dance floor. If you don?t know how to dance to a free dance, you can at least remain inconspicuous by moving left and right to the beat. If you don?t know how to dance a line dance, it?s going to become obvious to everybody pretty quickly.

But I don’t actually consider dancing to be beneath my dignity: I dance waltzes and swing dances because I’ve taken lessons and no longer fear making a fool of myself with them. I guess it’s looking silly in front of others that I want to avoid. A quick lesson on how to do the Electric Slide would relieve my fears, but I still don?t want to learn as I go; and in front of spectators, no less!

Wakey Wakey

I just got done putting Cora back to bed. For any interested parents-to-be out there, here’s a page from the baby survival guide. When baby wakes up at 2 a.m. crying, it’s a good thing. That means you just have to change a diaper or make a bottle, and then baby will go back to sleep. When baby wakes up at 2 a.m. giggling, it’s a bad thing. That means that baby thinks she’s gotten enough rest and is ready to start the day.

I’m certainly glad I went to college: where else would I have learned the wee-hour-of-the-morning skills that still serve me so well today? That baby didn’t realize who she was messing with. <crunch of beer can on forehead>

WOTD: Vanguard

The word of the day is: vanguard.

The vanguard is the leading edge of a movement: the persons or things leading the way. As such, I don’t have much first hand experience with it; I’m a committed “keep your head down and hope no one will notice” kind of guy.

Vanguard was also a video game for the Atari 2600. If I remember correctly, it involved flying a ship around the screen and shooting at things. The little ship was somewhat difficult to maneuver.

Introducing “Word of the Day”

I think that vocabulary is to language what flavor is to good nutrition. We could all get by on a high school vocabulary just like we could all get by eating dog food, but where’s the fun in that? The careful arrangement of just the right words adds spice and texture to language.

That’s why I’m a big fan of the Merriam-Webster website. They offer some terrific services, including a Word of the Day mailing list. Needless to say, I’m on the list.

So, since they send me a new word every day, I’m going to use some of those words as departure points for log entries. Expect the first installment soon.


A lyric from Darrell Evans got stuck in my head after titling the last entry “Down on my Knees.”

Your goodness led me to repentance
I was down on my knees

Instead of judgement, You gave me mercy.
And now I’m living in Your presence
Your love still flows so free
And, Lord, You take good care of me…

Down on my Knees

Cora?s getting ready to crawl. I don?t think she knows that, but all of the pieces are coming together. She definitely wriggles a lot more than she used to, and she can form a “bridge” by supporting herself on her hands and knees. She also rolls around a lot when she?s on the floor. She doesn?t roll in the directed sense of rolling from here to there, but in the less-purposeful sense of just rolling and rolling and rolling because she can.

My point is not that she?s about to crawl, but that she doesn?t realize she?s about to crawl. She?s just stretching for toys that are out of reach. She doesn?t appreciate the fact that trying to get to those toys is making her muscles stronger and improving her coordination.

Of course, she?s just a baby now, and what motivates her to all of this work isn?t very sophisticated. Her desire is simply to reach the purple elephant. But long after she?s lost interest in the purple elephant, crawling will still prove useful. Long after she’s lost interest in crawling, her strength and coordination will still prove useful.

Metaphorically speaking, how many purple elephants have I gone after in my life? How many of my current ambitions are tomorrow’s purple elephants? What am I going to learn in the process of chasing them? Is there a qualitative relationship between the things that motivate me and the person I become?