A blatant but hopefully temporary disregard for humility

I actually used “pneumonaultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis” in a sentence yesterday, a sentence in which I didn’t just spout the word out of context like I was trying to show off, like I kinda did back in April when I posted on this.

A friend stopped by the office and mentioned that his brother-in-law was having a beer recently with a physician who is somewhat of a world-renowned specialist in the field of understanding the epidemiology of people who live in areas subject to volcanic activity.

As I sat listening, I just about salivated. This was the moment I had waited for since about 1973.

“You mean,” I started with trepidation, “that he deals with people who have pneumonaultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis?”

A blank stare. Then a bewildered smile. This, from an attorney who could normally run verbal circles around me with two lobes tied behind his…cortex. He did our estate plan, and all he needs to say is “testator” and I go running for the Webster’s.

“People who have ‘black lung.’ ” I tell him. “It’s a coal miner’s disease for which they coined a term in the early 1900s, and I heard that word on ‘ZOOM’ on public television when I was a kid and have always wanted to use it in a sentence, and now I have. THANK YOU!”

Never thought I’d see the day. Now I have seen it.



For some time now, bedtime with three small children has become a little like a word in German or chemistry.

You know, something with SubjectAdjectiveFurtherAdjectiveObjectVerb that goes on and on. A technical term that contains all the knowledge of western civilization in one utterance.

So, these days, there seems to be no shortening of our evening routine – it just gets longer. It becomes an endless string of BooksPrayers”MiddleTime”(where the boys and I talk)SongsHeatedBeanBagsforColdNightsFreshWaterMoreSongsTuck-inThenConstantRemindersof”QuietNoI-S-A-I-D – Q – U – I – E – T!”

Quiet. Please.

No, really. Please…