Posted by: suek2001 | August 4, 2017

“Say the word and be like me”

This has been a long week..the week before my annual trip to Fantasy Camp usually is….and with all the drama behind the scenes, I haven’t gotten much sleep….and I need a distraction…

So, as Yogi Berra once said “Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be”….I started thinking back to old blog ideas that haven’t materialized yet….and one came to mind…

I love certain words…and I go through weird phases of loving words….thanks to my fairly corporate job, my newest word is “cohesion”..I love to drop that one in random conversation….

One of my all-time favorite words is “plethora”…ranks right up there with “perusal”….Back in the days of my job searches, I tried my best to work both of those words in my cover letters…(I hated writing those things!) I figured those two words showed off my college education…and gave me the illusion that I was still smart…

College shattered that illusion one day….I was typing a paper for a feature writing class(a class I should have sailed through but was giving me great difficulty)…and back then, Windows had a feature that not only spell-checked my work but analyzed it for reading level. At this point, I was in college for about four years(It took me six years and five majors to get that degree!)…So, I had this paper analyzed for “reading level”…Apparently, my  writing level stopped around the 8th grade….it crushed all my elitist attitudes and dreams…and returned me to my average reality.

I knew then, I wouldn’t be  a writer of in depth journals in college textbooks….Around the same time, something hilarious happened…

I was working my part time job at a local Target store….I happened to be that annoyingly chipper person that greeted people when they entered the store….(This was in the Mid’90’s when Target was desperate to be a trendier Wal-Mart)..and we had a teenaged boy who was the cart pusher. He’d round up all the shopping carts in the parking lot …One night, he seemed to be having a temper tantrum of some sort….the following conversation is to the best of my recollection..and remains one of the funniest moments of my entire adult working life:

Me: Ben, are you okay?

Ben: I’m fine…why do you ask?????

Me: You seem a little perturbed…

Ben:..What? I seem a little what?

Me: Perturbed…you seem a little perturbed.

Ben: What did you call me????

Me: Perturbed..

Ben:(yelling by now)..Why did you say that? Why did you call me that?

Me (I admit I wasn’t exactly clear to him but I enjoyed his reaction too much) Well, aren’t you perturbed?

Ben (almost screaming and pounding the carts) I am NOT PERTURBED!!!! YOU TAKE THAT BACK RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!

Me:(calmly) Why?

–at that point, Ben runs over to the Cashier supervisor…furious…

Ben(to Supervisor) “You have to talk to her…Do you wanna know what Sue called me? She had NO RIGHT to!!! She called me PERTURBED!!!!”

—At that point, my supervisor took one look at me and said “Sue, that is a serious charge….come to my office right now and we shall discuss this”…

So, I was dragged into her office and once the door closed, she let out a huge laugh…..We both laughed for about five minutes….and then she said “Well, which one of us ought to tell him the meaning of perturbed?”…I told her, it didn’t matter as it gave me great amusement…She agreed to tell him….

Ben was a good sport….although he wasn’t really happy with me for awhile…but after that night, he dropped the word “perturbed” into any conversation he could…..

Ironically, to this day…whenever I hear anyone use that word, I smile.





  1. I remember I once told a friend that someone’s daughter looked “cute as a button”. He looked at me with a WTF? expression. Even after I explained it to him he said, “that doesn’t even make ANY sense!”. I told him it wasn’t my responsibility to assign meaning to words, that he’d just have to live with it. Every time I used that phrase since, he just shakes his head. Imagine if you had told Ben that he seemed discombobulated. His head might have exploded! BTW, you write better than most folks I recently attended college with.

    • Funny story Rich! Thanks for the encouragement. I will admit “cute as a button” is one that I never quite understood…how is a button cute? I would take it as a compliment though.

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