A.Word.A.Day drabble – 4/22/10: “sisyphean” , 4/13/10: “Munich”. 6/17/08: “brummagem”.
(turns out I missed some from even before June of 2010. Clearin’ out the ol’ inbox….)
A Word A Day by Anu Garg
MEANING: adjective: Endlessly laborious and fruitless.
ETYMOLOGY: After Sisyphus, a king in Greek mythology who was cursed to push a huge boulder to the top of a hill, only to watch it roll back down and to repeat this forever. Roll, rinse, repeat.
MEANING: noun: A shortsighted or dishonorable appeasement.
ETYMOLOGY: After Munich, Germany, the site of a pact signed by Great Britain, France, Italy, and Germany on Sep 29, 1938 that permitted annexation of Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland by Nazi Germany. WWII began a year later; Sudetenland was restored to Czechoslovakia after the war.
PRONUNCIATION: (BRUM-uh-juhm) adjective
MEANING: noun: Cheap and showy. Something that is counterfeit or of inferior quality.
ETYMOLOGY: After Brummagem, a dialectal form of Birmingham, UK, where counterfeit coins were produced in the 17th century. Brummie is a nickname for someone from Birmingham.
While the cashier (Daisy, according to her nametag, and wasn’t that just too cute) went to call her friend, Eric ran through possible scenarios in his head. Waving-hands dude could show up, listen to Eric’s apology, accept it, and leave. That was the best way it could go and also the most unlikely.
Maybe he’d want proof of Eric’s sincerity, and maybe Eric would agree to make whatever grand gesture required to be forgiven. He’d never needed anyone to approve of him before, but his life had just made a tire-screeching one-eighty and the look the guy had given him after he’d said the f-word had been like a knife plunging into his gut. Right now Eric was willing to say anything, to enter into a Munich, even, just to get the guilt off his own shoulders.
So if the guy accepted his apology today, then showed up tomorrow with new demands? Whatever. Eric would do his best to comply, even if the guy came back again and again, until Eric’s life became some Sisyphean cycle of apologies leading to bribes and possibly even blackmail, and holy hell, where had that come from? Surely waving-hands guy wouldn’t be that petty. As far as Eric could remember, the guy had been dressed fairly well, no gold lamé track suits. Maybe he was an antiques dealer or owned an art gallery, someone who could distinguish fake from genuine, someone who would recognize a real apology and would know that what Eric was offering up wasn’t mere brummagem.