Tuesday, September 9, 2008

whores de vore


I remember watching Saturday Night Live with my older sister and her friend, Michelle Johnson, down in the finished basement of the Johnsons' house while our parents were upstairs playing boardgames. Wayne and Garth uttered their famous catchphrase, "Shwing!", and Julie and Michelle burst into laughter. Going on their cue, I laughed too.

Julie turned to me (I was probably about nine at the time) and said, "You know what that means, right?"

My face burned as I shot back, fiercely, "Of course I do!"

I didn't.

I marvel now at the misguided pride that I clung to all the way up into my first college years. I hated admitting that I didn't know what a particular word meant, or that I was unfamiliar with some concept that other people were discussing. I held on to the unrelenting sense of shame I felt when I publicly discovered that the word debris was not pronounced, "deb-riss", and hors d'oeuvre was not pronounced, "whores de vore". I was so afraid of looking stupid that I would smile and nod whenever I heard an unkown word or idea, promising myself that I would look it up when I was alone but usually forgetting to do so.

I had good reason to be afraid of looking stupid - I was stupid; stupid for being afraid to admit that there were things I didn't know. Did I really think that I was fooling anyone? That people saw me, smiling and nodding, and thought, "Wow. That girl knows EVERYTHING."

What a pompous dope I was. I put my ego above the opportunity to learn something new.

Eventually, I made this revelation, and I resolved to always ask for a definition when presented with a word or idea that was foreign to me. I promised myself I would ask for the proper pronunciation of words I was unsure of, and I would learn to laugh at myself if I got it wrong.

It's made me a much happier person.

What's something you've changed about yourself from when you were younger? How's it workin for ya?


Tanya Rose said...

When I was like 11 and my sister had just hit the amazingly cool 7th grade, she started calling me a 'Pompous Pig'. I used to get upset and tell her that she didn't even know what that word meant. Of course, neither did I, but that didn't stop me from calling other kids the same thing. Weirdos

Another little tid bit:
Forte (for-tay) REALLY is pronounced FORT. At least it was originally; maybe they just accept how it's said now.

Foxyyy Ladyyyyy

Miss Kolleen said...

im much less judgmental now than i used to be. and a lot more saner.

you're book will be on its way tomorrow! it was wonderful.

"hey mr. donut head man who is trying to kill you?"
"i dont know but they better not"

Noel said...

I'm still working hard on my nervous habit of talking about pets. One part of me says "Stop talking about animals, you twit!" the other says "Keep going or it will seem weird that you stopped"
Vicious cycle.