Did anyone see that great meme: “If Donald Trump Had Captained the Titanic”? His first claim would be “There is no iceberg”, closely followed by “We won’t hit an iceberg”. When the inevitable happened, he would claim to have known it was an iceberg before anyone else knew, and then he would say “No one knows icebergs better than I do”, followed by several other contradictory statements culminating in “I am the best captain, ask anyone”.
I shared it with my cynical nephew (as you do when you want to touch base but you don’t want to type all the usual platitudes) and not to be outdone he came back telling me he’d been watching all of Trump’s daily Covid press briefings because they’re so good! Now let me reassure you he was saying that with his tongue firmly in his cheek; but I couldn’t resist suggesting that he (my nephew) must have a masochistic streak.
I got two messages back in quick succession. The first was “let me find out what that word means” and the next – “I certainly do not derive sexual gratification from being subjected to physical pain!”.
Now being an old-fashioned girl who knows quite a few words, I scuttled in consternation for the dictionary to assure myself I had not been misusing the term for the past forty years. My trusty Oxford (apparently the third edition prefaced in 1934 and now held together with duct tape); leapt straight from “maskinonge” to “mason” with nary a masochist to be seen.
Fortunately I have several dictionaries and the next happened also to be an Oxford (the sixth edition prefaced in 1976) revealed to me that not only is masochism “a form of (esp. sexual) perversion in which person derives pain from his own pain or humiliation”, but colloquially it means “enjoyment of what appears to be painful or tiresome”. Now being a colloquial sort of a gal that is exactly the context in which I was using the term.
Apart from the outrageous claptrap Trump proclaims on a daily basis; it is the awful way he does it that sets my teeth on edge. It is definitely “painful and tiresome” stuff; and if you have to watch while he’s doing it, he scores a perfect trifecta of sounding like an idiot, looking like an idiot and saying idiotic things. As I write this Trump is making his kingly proclamations justifying the withdrawal of US funding from the World Health Organisation – just in case anyone was thinking my criticism is a bit harsh.
So in an unprecedented time when we are being exhorted to be grateful for what we do have – I am grateful to have a nephew who makes me laugh, a couple of dictionaries that are so much more satisfying to flick through than any online version, devices that I can turn off before wankers like Donald Trump goad me into smashing them, and I have learned a new word.
Did you know that a maskinonge is a large North American pike especially in the Great Lakes? Neither did I.