I didn't learn just a whole lot about chemistry that year. I still remember the oddballs on the periodic table (Ag=silver, Au=gold, Fe=iron, K=potassium), but aside from that, nada.
My teacher was Dr. Bergren, and she was a very short Cuban woman with Dr. Ruth Westheimer's voice. I loved listening to her talk, which came in handy, because that's all she did. And not usually about chemistry. She was infamous at GHS for being the easiest teacher ever to get off subject. We had a blast bringing up controversial subjects that we knew would veer us off the Chemistry path for an hour. For instance, a mention of Fidel Castro would send her careening headlong into a lecture about the evils of Communism. It was great fun at the time, because it got us out of having to do a lab or take a quiz or whatever else was on the day's schedule. But it always came back to bite us in the end, because whether or not we covered the material in class, Dr. Bergren always included it on the tests anyway. I didn't do very well in Chemistry.
English is where I excelled. I was, and AM, a word nerd. I write because I like to. Nay, because I NEED to. I read because I feel imcomplete if I don't. Some people do Sudoku puzzles; I'd rather diagram sentences.
And so it's funny to me that the one thing I learned in Chemistry (besides the periodic table) was a word: serendipity.
I have no recollection of WHY she taught us that word, but one day Dr. Bergren went off on a tangent, and said, "Class. Do you know what serendipity is? It's when you see the rainbow, and you determine to find the end of it, and when you DO, there's a pot of gold waiting for you! That's serendipity."
I've loved that word ever since. Truly, it's on the short list of my favorites. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that when the movie "Serendipity" came out in the 90s, I was sorta dismayed that my word would be so widely known now.
I live a serendipitous life. I think it goes hand in hand with grace, actually. Love God, and get way more than what you deserve in return. Love people, and discover the proverbial pot of gold you didn't know they were holding for you. Wait, no. The proverbial pot of Au. heh.
The other words on my short list?
Gregarious. In my Senior English class, we had a weekly list of vocabulary words, and we had to write sentences on the chalkboard using the word we were assigned. I'll never forget seeing "Stacy is the most gregarious person I know" written there in scratchy boy-print. I took it as the highest compliment.
Pulchritudinous. A year or so ago on this blog, I asked readers to describe me in one word. This is the word Darren chose. I had to look up its meaning.
Facetious. I think of it is a playful form of sarcasm. While sarcasm is sometimes cruel and biting, facetiousness is almost always light-hearted and fun. Besides that, it's just a cool word. I love to say it out loud. And it's even more fun to spell -the vowels all go in order from A to U.
Plethora. I learned this word in 1986, from one of my all-time favorite movies, "The Three Amigos".
I have a plethora of favorite words, but I'll spare you the rest.
Jefe:We have many beautiful pinatas for your birthday celebration, each one filled with little surprises!
El Guapo: How many pinatas?
Jefe: Many pinatas, many!
El Guapo: Jefe, would you say I have a plethora of pinatas? Jefe: A what?
El Guapo: A *plethora*.
Jefe: Oh yes, El Guapo. You have a plethora.
El Guapo: Jefe, what is a plethora?
Jefe: Why, El Guapo?
El Guapo: Well, you just told me that I had a plethora, and I would just like to know if you know what it means to have a plethora. I would not like to think that someone would tell someone else he has a plethora, and then find out that that person has *no idea* what it means to have a plethora.
Jefe: El Guapo, I know that I, Jefe, do not have your superior intellect and education, but could it be that once again, you are angry at something else, and are looking to take it out on me?
What are some of yours?
What is your favorite word?Maybe you just like the way it rolls off your tongue.Maybe it's funny to you for some reason.Perhaps its meaning gives it a place of honor on your word list.Maybe you like it because of the circumstances that surrounded you learning it.Thing about words.What are your favorites, and why?