Luckily, Dan and I are both word people. It’s as big a deal as having similar political beliefs. We make metaphorical jokes, enjoy silly puns and make up new words daily. It’s like breathing.
I’m so obsessive about correct word use that I call out people who use “importantly” instead of important. Not that big a crime, right?
Dan has become a recumbent bicycle aficionado — online he reads about bent bikes (as they’re called) for hours, watches people ride with cool musical accompaniment, cycles with various groups every weekend and has even driven back and forth to Fresno, California, in two days to purchase his dream bike. But that’s beside the point.
Dan told me last night that cyclists consistently write “peddling” when they mean pedaling. We were both, well, not exactly horrified, but I think a little dismayed. Are we just from another generation when people could spell? Or cared more about language?
Is there such a thing as word DNA? Not sure where I got mine — maybe from old-fashioned teachers who taught spelling — but my kids are both exquisite writers who honor the perfect word. Brook and Ethan had a great-grandfather who wrote a history of Russia, a grandmother and grandfather who wrote textbooks, nutrition and chemistry, respectively.
Dan’s grandfather was a war correspondent and later sports editor for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and his mom was supreme copy editor at the Arizona Daily Star for 30 years.
Now both in their 80s, Dan’s folks decipher crossword puzzles together for fun. And Dan’s son, Connor, has fallen in love with linguistics in college.
We care about words. Ethan’s favorite word as a little boy was dusk. I’ve always loved the word flummoxed. Brook, her boyfriend, Gianmarco, Ethan and I made a campfire on a Mount Desert Island beach last month after her birthday dinner.
What did we do that night, under the full moon starting her 34th year? Played Scrabble on an iPad until 2 a.m.
We’re word people. Dan and I have both repeated phrases over the years that make us smile, guffaw and bond us to our families.
May we peddle words as long as we both shall live.