I admit I had a smidgeon of trouble coming up with this week’s column. It wasn’t as severe as writer’s block, but maybe it was writer’s constipation.
Instead of a laxative or even a stool softener, all I needed was a fiber gummy or two, lol. I crack myself up; maybe just myself, but “we” have fun.
Then, it hit me. Words.
It all began with that day’s Dictionary.com “word of the day,” sumpsimus. This word piqued my curiosity. I often try to suss a word’s meaning with its parts, or bit of Latin roots.
So, I thought of maximus, as in gluteus-maximus or what I interpret as massive muscle or big butt, lol. Next, I thought of sumptuous, which to me means delectable. Well, then it got dirtier, as in sump pump. So, I stopped thinking and researched the word, sumpsimus.
Well, I couldn’t seem to relate to the word sumpsimus, but oh baby did I relate to it’s opposite, mumpsimus, meaning “adherence to an incorrect word or practice while rejecting the correct one, or a person who persists in a mistaken expression or practice.”
I was shopping in a certain supermarket that I frequent, occasionally. Although the word frequent in the previous sentence means to visit often, I’m compelled to use it. However, in this I would be lying, so I modified it with the word occasionally. This word usage most certainly is a breach of the rules of English grammar, but I think you get my drift.
I shop in this store more than occasionally but not as much as I could honestly characterize as often. Last week I found myself in said grocery store three times, but I stopped in once the month before. You decide.
At any rate, a visit or two back, that supermarket gave me a new surname. It’s okay. My married surname happens to be French and many people overly-Frenchify it by pronouncing it, “Le-Vaughn” or “Le-von.” I’m used to this.
It all started with their app and my trying to get some 99-cent wheat bread for my daughter, named Eleni. Her unusual name is for another paragraph, perhaps another time.
In order to use digital coupons on select, in-store advertised prices, I’m told I have to use the app on my smart-phone, which is much too smart for me sometimes. Well, I made a scene at the self-checkout. I really wanted that 99-cent bread instead of paying full price at a hefty $3.89 or some such exorbitant price, at least in comparison to the .99 promise. If only.
I tried my app three times before I called for help. When help came to my rescue, she tried my app for me. At every attempt, we got stuck on my password, or lack thereof. I explained that I go through this every time I try to use the app for those digital coupons. So, together, we tried to reset the password, and we waited and waited for me to get an email allowing me to reset my password, to no avail. My helper finally overrode the system and let me check out using one of her “secret associate codes” so I could get the .99 bread for Eleni.
My married-surname, LeVan is of French Huguenot derivation. We’ve often been offered a Jewish heritage with said surname, pronounced, Levine (la-VEEN). It’s also not uncommon for people, in writing to skip the capital letter in the middle, with Levan, again leaning toward the Hebrew, as in leaven, sounds like heaven.
I get it. Many official businesses will ALL CAP names and addresses to simplify such things as this in their overly-complicated, or is it over-simplified databases. So, when LEVAN is all capped, it lends itself to losing the capital V in the middle when reverting out of all-caps.
A few days after the latest debacle trying to use digital coupons, I called the supermarket corporate offices to find out what was up with my app. A kind, happy, young-sounding representative sussed out that the reason my password wouldn’t work was the misspelling of my surname in their system. Le Van, two words.
It seems that a year or two ago, that crazy app assigned me the name Le Van, as in the Korean/Vietnamese combo of, LEE VAN. When she said that they can’t correct this in their system, I acquiesced, “I am neither Korean nor Vietnamese, but okay!”
This made me and that sweet girl at the supermarket call center hysterical for a few seconds. Probably she or I needed a good laugh that Monday morning.
At any rate, you can call me what you wish. Even though that mumpsimus grocery store cannot, in their system, correct my name to its proper place in their world, I know who I am. I was a Barton, first – easy- peasy. Now, it’s more than Barton, it’s LeVan (pronounced, Le-VAN).
And I use my common name, Bev instead of Beverly or my pen name Beverleigh for these columns. This is because April, I am told, is Earth Month and God knows, I am nothing if not down-to-earth.
Words are the source of so much fun, beau-coup amounts of misunderstanding, beauty, pain, trivia and meaning. Cheers to using your words frequently, and with flair, finesse, fun, flexibility, friendliness, forthrightness, yet, forgiveness. An alliteration seemed somehow in order.