Saturday, April 14, 2012

It's National Dictionary Day, Hurray!

After discovering that it was National Grilled Cheese Day earlier this week, I was curious.  Are there other holidays like this that I have been missing out on?  Yes there are -- a ton of them.

I have chosen to embrace National Dictionary Day, which is today.  I know it is true because I read it on the internet, and the source said they were the first to provide the list and it was validated.

According to the same website, today in also:
Baby Massage Day
Children with Alopecia Day
International Moment of Laughter Day
Pan American Day

I swear I did not make any of those up.

National Dictionary Day is a fantastic opportunity to increase your vocabulary!  Maybe you can't read so well and could stand to learn a few new words.  Maybe you have a proclivity to drop the f-bomb into every sentence and people think it is the only thing you know how to say.  Maybe, like me, you are an enormous geek and really love dictionaries.

Let me take you back in time to my college years.  The internet wasn't really around -- there was no Google, no Facebook.  I took a programming class, and it was in C Basic.   I had a Brother word processor for typing my papers.   We could surf the web, as it was, using Netscape Navigator.  There might have been more cutting-edge technology out there, but I went to a SUNY school, so we didn't have it.  And before you go thinking I must be older than dirt, I am in my 30s. So shut up with the grandma jokes.

One of the things that I brought to college was a dictionary.  It was awesome!  It was  from the 1940s.  As I was an English major and a huge geek (no change there), I liked to flip through it to find new and unusual words.  My roommate was also an English major, and she too loved my super-awesome dictionary.  We decide to make a Word of the Day game.  Each day we would flip through the dictionary to find a whacky word that we didn't know, or one that wasn't commonly heard in conversation, and proclaim it the Word of the Day.  The only qualification beyond that was that it had to be a word that could easily be used in conversation.  We would write the word and its definition on a piece of paper, and tape it to the wall in the bathroom stall so that all of our suite-mates could also get their learn on while going potty.  You're welcome, suite-mates!

We  went through a lot of words in the 3 years we roomed together.  There are two that I clearly remember, as the entire suite adopted them and loved them as much as we did.

Squiffy:  slightly drunk

Quaff:  to drink a beverage, especially an intoxicating one, copiously and with hearty enjoyment.

As you can imagine, we used the two together in sentences quite often.  An example would be, "I can't wait until Friday night!  I plan to quaff some beer until I feel squiffy!" 

Good times.

In case that is not enough proof of my love and devotion to dictionaries, allow me to tell you about my hamster.  When I was older and living off campus, I had a pet hamster.  He was the best. hamster. ever!  I had gone to the pet store in town, and I picked out a Teddy Bear hamster -- the fattest one I could find.  I believe my exact quote was, "I want him!  The fat little hamster sitting in his food bowl and smiling like a happy Buddah statue!"  I named him Webster, after Noah Webster.  He would roll around in his little rolly-ball, and you could pet him and hold him as much as you wanted.  I would take him outside, carefully supervised, so he could eat clovers and he would literally vibrate with happiness.  Sadly, he only lived about 2 years.  RIP my little buddy.

So you see, I really do love dictionaries and words.  

Just to make this a more educational post, let me share a couple websites with you.   -- use it, love it.  When you try to use a big word to sound fancy and you don't really know what it means because you never bothered to look it up and then you use it incorrectly, it drives people (like myself) crazy.  -- in case you need a little help to be hep to the jive the kids are using these days.

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