Engelish 101 (Minus One)

As I mentioned in my January 15 essay, you are now reading the 100th composition I have written since starting this splendid journey in March of 2020. And I love that this is Number 100 so I can remind you that the derivation of our word “hundred” actually comes from its association with Huns, those brutal tribes who descended upon Europeans in great numbers and so gave their name to all large three-figure numerals.

Please tell me that you knew my last sentence was what the Brits call “utter rubbish” and what we (their vulgar American cousins) have named for the unpleasant leavings of a male cow. 

Of course the word “hundred” has absolutely nothing to do with Attila. It derives from a pre-Greek term meaning “ten times ten.” But so many of you have commented on how you love when I delve into word derivations (in both my lectures and my essays) that I couldn’t resist pulling your collective legs with that whopper. Aren’t I sweet? Just call me Attila The Honey.

This would also be a good occasion for me to thank all of you who have given me wonderful feedback on my blogs. Well, actually I want to thank you AND chide you. See, I told you it’s best not to trust me. As much as I love hearing that you enjoy my writing, I must protest when some of you refer to such writing as a “blog.” I have nothing against blogs, essentially website journals written in a conversational style. But I like to think what you are now reading is more carefully and consciously crafted than the few blogs I have read. I have a college friend of almost sixty years who writes a fine one, but most of the others I have seen seem to ramble on artlessly with topics I find so dull that falling asleep while reading them seems as easy as falling off…a blog. 

No, what I feel I have been sharing with you is a short personal essay (around 750 words), quite different in nature than the more casual blog. My essays are, I hope, literary compositions which deal with any subject I might choose but always from a quite personal point of view. I am gratified that the word “essay” derives from the French “essayer”, meaning “to attempt or strive.” In my essays, I strive to convince you to see things as I do. 

Thanks to so many of you responding to each essay, I tend to know which ones hit the mark with the majority of you. And so I thought this occasion would be perfect for turning the tables and sharing with you which one was my favorite of these first hundred. I could reveal it now, but we have decided to wait until tomorrow when we shall send it to your inbox. As Darian said, this will create a little suspense for you. Being way more obnoxious about how much my essays mean to you, I suggested that this twenty-four hour delay will give you something to live for. Yes? NO?

As with today’s essay, tomorrow’s will hit your inbox at 7:30 am. When we sent out that first essay to you almost four years ago, it was Darian who suggested the very early arrival hour so that those of you who chose to read it immediately could start both your day and your week with my words. Originally, I had argued for 9:00 pm so that I might “tuck you into bed” with my latest little secular sermon. 

And how can I mention the cute phrase “tuck you in” without delving into its derivation? It comes from the Old English “tucken” meaning “to gather into a smaller or more snug position” as in “the diver tucked his knees into his chest” or “the girl tucked her blouse into her skirt.” And don’t you just love that when you’re “tuckered” OUT, it means that somebody now needs to tuck you IN. (Hey -- I’m tellin’ ya the truth this time!)

And so even though Darian convinced me not to send my essays at night to tuck you in, I just had a sudden thought. If you do read my essays as soon they hit your inbox at 7:30 am, please allow me to “tuck you out” of your bed and send you into your day with a smile (and maybe a bad-pun groan) or perhaps with a slightly different point of view from having just read my 750 words in plain Engelish.

“See” you tomorrow!


Email Elliot at huffam@me.com or click here

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