Sunday, November 11, 2012

Nothing Wrong with a Good Head Scratch

There are awkward moments in certain conversations when someone mentions an idea or a person or an event that is unknown to you. What to do? Do you interrupt the speaker and declare your deficit, or do you nod knowingly hoping you'll be able to make some sense of the reference in context?

This dilemma might be intensified when another person in the discussion admits to not knowing the particulars and so asks to be brought up to speed. In order not to be enlisted in the tutorial, you must avert your eyes, but not so much as to reveal your ignorance.

Or, so I've been told.

These days, I'm not too proud to admit it when I read or hear a word I'm unfamiliar with. Such was the case today when I read Maureen Dowd's op/ed piece in the NYTimes. The starting point of her essay was the throw-back nature of Mitt Romney's popularity among white guys of a certain age; Mad Men was used as an exemplar, but then Dowd noted that that particular TV show "seems too louche for a candidate who doesn’t drink or smoke and who apparently dated only one woman"

Louche? Cool word! And the best part is I know it now.

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