Saturday, June 03, 2006

Zeducation Supplement


Trotting north, I pass a church out of which emerge, one at a time, a series of dogs, each a different size/breed, which hilariously storm across to another building, but finding it closed, return to the church, but can't get in the door.These are some spazzy, entertaining dogs!

I'm running on this dirt trail and in my mind I hear a poem or melody, How does the child know . . . ? I have a vague sense that there's someone running behind me, so I keep the pace up.

I pass into a subway station, take the train for a few stops, emerge—get back on that dirt trail, which occasionally has a rivulet of crystalline but greenish water running down the center.

The trail goes up a hill. There's been narration in my head the whole time, morphing from the old poem to something like right-wing radio: They say they have 5 million rogue warriors . . . well, we've got 5 million road warriors.

* * *

The spelling bee on Thursday night was fascinating—I thought my interest in the—sport? recreation?—ended with the excellent Spellbound, but this was riveting: the different methods of the spellers (writing the word out with a finger on an arm), good-luck charms, the questions asked (Can I have a definition?), sometimes repeatedly . . . In the final round it was down to three girls, one of whom had been mistakenly eliminated after spelling hechscher correctly (the judges' word list was wrong) and brought back. The championship list of 25 words was brought out. The very composed hechscher finalist was eliminated (for real), and then it was down to an Edmontonian and a New Jerseyite. The girl from Edmonton (who I originally took to be Hawaiian) seemed to be cruising almost effortlessly—perhaps thanks to country-mandated French instruction? But then she tripped, unaccountably, on weltschmerz—the judge's definition was perhaps too droll, too foreboding, and drew an audience chuckle that might have distracted the contestant. She kicked it off with a v instead of a w; charmingly and appropriately, the last letter she gave was "zed."

The New Jerseyite got her next word, and was triumphant with the redolent ursprache, meaning something like (again appropriately!) a language of origin arrived at by analysis of later languages.

* * *

This is all a way to avoid talking about the injury-incurring Sabres' seventh-game loss to Carolina that same night. Arlo will bring us the post-mortem soon.


Blogger Mr. Saturnhead said...

More concisely (in today's Times): URSPRACHE = "a hypothetical parent language."

10:12 AM  

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