I have neglected my vocabulary ever since I sat through a trial in Charlotte, Michigan in the late nineteen sixties where a jury awarded our railroad $100,000 in damages in our suit against a trucking company. The only problem was that we had an air tight case and our damages exceeded a million dollars. Our stuffy corporate attorney had managed to sweet talk that rural jury with his Harvard vocabulary so that not one soul in the jury box had a hint of what he was talking about. I’m serious. He was tossing around words up there that even the judge couldn’t translate. The trial lasted three times as long as it should have just because of that haughty and stupid counsel of ours and for his every utterance we paid dearly. He had cost the railroad $900,000
I believe it was the day that jury rendered its verdict that I stopped my practice of learning a new word a day and started concentrating on how to use the words I had already stored up in my mind with greater conviction, more precision and with deeper meaning while adding a touch of humor and humanness.
That approach has served me well. I’ve enjoyed a wonderful career as a wordsmith and so today when I meet with fellow poets I chuckle inside my head when I see a bard exercising his excess, obscure, sleep inducing vocabulary on a yawning, unappreciative audience.
I must confess though, that now and then a single word catches my attention and holds me captive until I do something with it. Such was the case recently when I heard the word “Prolixity”. I looked the word up online and came up with the following.
prolixity – Dictionary Definition : Vocabulary.com
Prolixity means about the same thing as long-windedness. If someone is yammering on and on and on — that’s an example of prolixity.
With just a bit of word bending I came up with the following.
Prolixity by Art Fettig
Since I’ve become twenty-six plus sixity
I have a dose of mad prolixity
Instead of sitting quiet and blushing
I just whip out my pen and the words come rushing.
Edit! Edit! I hear them holler
That bitter pill I just won’t swallor
Until My Master shouts “Begone!”
I’ll just keep rambling on and on
And on and on and on ….. (diminish volume)