Essays

Word Games

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Here in Carpenter Country, the short one has shaken off spring fever and is back to playing word games. As she looked over Forbes’ list of rich people and tried to think of another term for billionaire, she recalled the day she’d become hooked on one of her more interesting pastimes.

It happened years ago when she and her neighbor were talking about what they’d buy if they ever found themselves rolling in greenbacks. A few fancy houses, cars, boats and private jets later, they decided their make-believe dough could be used to invite the world’s dictators, and the people they were suppressing, to a get-together. One such meeting should guarantee peace on earth.

“Anyone listening would think we were crazy,” the short one said, when the conversation ran out of steam. “But just for kicks how much do you think all that would cost?”

“It doesn’t matter,” her neighbor replied. “We just need enough money so that instead of shaking their heads over our plan and calling us crazy, people will say we’re eccentric.”

“Eccentric? Crazy? They mean the same thing,” the short one said.

“No they don’t,” her neighbor answered. “One has a nicer meaning than the other. Look them up.”

The short one did. And found her neighbor was right. Crazy was defined as affected with madness. Eccentric meant deviating from the established norm.

There must be more words like that, the short one thought. She did some research and found a new hobby–which on occasion makes her crazy. Or is that eccentric?

Maybe a little bit of both.

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