“I like words. I like fat, buttery words, such as ooze, turpitude, gluttonous, toady.
“I like solemn, angular, creaky words, such as straitlaced, cantankerous, precuneus, valedictory.
“I like spurious, black-as-white words, such as mortician, liquidate, tonsorial, demimonde.
“I like suave V words, such as Svengali, svelte, bravura, verve.
“I like crunchy, brittle, crackly words, such as splinter, grapple, jostle, crusty.
“I like sullen, crabbed, scowling words, such as skulk, glower, scabby, churl.
“I like Oh-Heavens, my-gracious, land's-sake words, such as tricksy, tucker, genteel, horrid.
“I like elegant, flowery words, such as estivate, peregrinate, elysium, halcyon.
“I like wormy, squirmy, mealy words, such as crawl, blubber, squeal, drip.
“I like sniggly, chuckling words, such as cowlick, gurgle, bubble and burp.
“I like the word screenwriter better than copywriter, so I decided to quit my job in a New York advertising agency and try my luck in Hollywood, but before taking the plunge I went to Europe for a year of study, contemplation and horsing around. I have just returned and I still like words.
“May I have a few with you?”
—Robert Pirosh’s cover letter to MGM, which hired him in 1934, read by Shaun Usher, author of “Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience,” National Public Radio, Oct. 14, 2014
• Editorial Comment: I like “thesaurus.”
PeezPix by Ted Pease
TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.)
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. (Be)Friend The WORD
“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard