Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Unfortunate word choices...

So, after yesterday's drama, I'm sitting here thinking about what to write about next.  Leave it to Facebook for a handy suggestion in the form of an ill conceived ad.

Someone posted a picture of a sofa bed that was being sold in a local yardsale group.  The ad described the furniture as a "Sofa cum bed".  Naturally, to Americans, this was especially funny.  Cum, to an American, is a nasty slang word for semen.  Look up the word cum in the dictionary, though, and you'll find that it's also a preposition with Latin origins.  It means "with".  One rarely hears the word "cum" used in that way anymore, except by people who are being pretentious.

I know a woman who used to describe herself as a "psychologist cum criminologist".  I remember rolling my eyes when I saw her manner of describing herself.  I knew that her use of the word "cum" was an attempt at looking smart.  Once I got to know her better, I began to suspect that her so-called credentials were fabricated.  She is an intelligent woman, but I don't think she's what she claims to be.  Generally, most people who are really impressive don't have to employ gimmicks to be impressive. Their actions tend to speak for themselves.

The person who posted the ad for the sofa bed may be a European.  It's possible that the word "cum", used as a preposition, is common for people who hail from Europe.  I will say that I've never known anyone besides my "psychologist cum criminologist" acquaintance to use the word "cum" in that fashion.  It's a gimmick that, in my opinion, doesn't really work.

I have also heard the word "cum" used in a non-offensive manner when it pertains to certain academic awards.  For example, someone who graduates from college with an unusually high grade point average might be said to have graduated "cum laude", "magna cum laude", or "summa cum laude".  Cum laude basically means "with honors".

I guess the point of this post is that when you're trying to sell a sofa, it's probably best not to mention the word "cum" in your description.  Even if you're using it properly to express that your sofa up for sale is a sofa with a bed, when Americans think of the word "cum", they aren't usually thinking of the hoity toity Latin word meaning "with".  They are thinking of the nasty white stuff that comes out under pressure when men are sexually excited.  Take that and combine it with what people might do on a sofa bed and your furniture for sale suddenly becomes very unattractive.

I found out yesterday that Pat Conroy, who is one of my favorite novelists, has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  I am pretty upset about it.  I don't read a lot of novels anymore, but I always read his.  A pancreatic cancer diagnosis is very bad news.  I have known more than a couple of people who have died from it.  So, if you can spare a few positive vibes or prayers for Mr. Conroy, I'm sure he, and his many beloved readers, would appreciate them.

Zane managed to hurt his paw again somehow.  He has had problems with his right hind paw off and on since we moved to Germany.  I think it gets irritated somehow; he licks and chews on it, which causes the pad to crack or puts a hole in it.  Then, it's sore and painful, so he wants to keep licking it, which only makes it worse.

I hate making him wear an e-collar and don't really want to take him to the vet, especially since he was just there yesterday to get his monthly allergy shot.  I gave him some Benadryl this morning and tried to wash the foot as much as I could.  He's downstairs resting now.  I swear, if it's not one thing, it's another.


  1. I'm sorry both for Zane and for Pat Conroy.

    1. I think Zane will be okay. I hate it when he does this to himself, though.


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