- What’s that Word Again?
What’s that Word Again?
By Didi Gorman
Sometimes, just as you’re speaking, a word will refuse to manifest itself. It will sit there, on the tip of your tongue, rebelliously absent, determined to irritate you to no end as you attempt to retrieve it from its hideout, somewhere in a distant corner of your brains.
I had a close encounter with such an occurrence when a family member wished to express a certain emotion the other day, but the reluctant word just kept escaping verbalization.
“I’m feeling a bit… What’s that word again? Worried? No, not worried. Wary? No, not that either. Come on! The word’s on the tip of my tongue! I hate it when I forget words,” complained the frustrated family member.
Upon this, I immediately felt compelled to help lure the elusive word into existence, and so I attempted:
“Concerned? Is that the word you’re looking for?”
“No, not concerned.”
“Then maybe ‘doubtful’?”
“No, no, none of these. It had an ‘s’ in it.”
“Suspicious? Anxious? Conscientious? Incredulous?”
“Smitten? Struck? Surprised? Astonished? Stupefied? Startled? Speechless?”
“No, no. But you sure are good with synonyms.”
“Thanks. If there’s one thing I adore about synonyms, it’s that they allow you to repeat yourself over and over, time and again, on and on.”
“Okay, now you’re just making fun. Would you please just help me find the lost word?”
“Yes. Sure. Absolutely.”
“Cut it out.”
“Sorry. I apologize. My bad. Please forgive me.”
“I’m beginning to feel skeptical about your intention to help me… Hang on. ‘Skeptical’! That’s it! That’s the word I was looking for! Thanks! Thanks a million! Thanks a bunch! Much obliged! I owe you one!”
No problem. ‘I’m always glad to help,’ I wanted to say but then thought the better of it. That’s because I’m also happy to assist and thrilled to be of service, but there’s no need to say the same thing three times. That’s just plain useless, pointless, and unnecessary.