Word Of The Day 3-24-2017


used in Edinburgh as a warning cry when it was customary to throw slops from the windows into the streets


“Residents often threw refuse out of windows at night onto the streets. A commentator observed that, ‘One never knew the moment when the warning cry ‘Gardyloo’… might ring out, following which would come in quick succession an avalanche of unmentionable filth on to the footpath – or the passer-by.'” — Jonathan Yeager, Enlightened Evangelicalism: The Life and Thought of John Erskine, 2011

About the Word:

Pity the visitor to Scotland unfamiliar with the practice of using what is most likely a French-based term (garde à l’eau! literally means “look out for the water!”) when dumping slops into the streets.

In the Shadow of Strangers – DP Prompt

Witness Protection

When you do something scary or stressful — bungee jumping, public speaking, etc. — do you prefer to be surrounded by friends or by strangers? Why?

I stand in the middle of a company of strangers. I used to think that, if I wanted to try something new and definitely crazy, I’d want to do so in the comfortable cradle of close friends. I learned, after several tries with friends, I much prefer the company of strangers. With strangers, you can be yourself. You don’t have to worry about stories going around the office or school or town, whichever maybe the purview of your social group. Opening up with strangers, for the same reason, is easier. Why else would we flock in such droves to talk to doctors or lawyers or psychologists?

And, if you chance, one of those strangers becomes a friend, it is entirely possible no words will be spoken of any embarrassing incidents which occurred during the event. They were there and know you have as many stories about their own performance or lack thereof.

I met my best friend this way.  Both skydiving, both so terrified the instructor almost had to push us out of the plane and jump with us, just in case we panicked and forgot how to pull the rip cords . We pulled the cords, of course, too terrified not to pull them. Once we hit the ground, we both decided we never wanted to ever see a plane or a parachute again and we definitely were never going to be so stupid as to jump out of one.

“After all,” he said, “planes were meant to take one from A to B, not for people to bail out in the middle of the flight.”

I agreed wholeheartedly and off we went to Waffle House for breakfast.  Ah, the start of a beautiful friendship.


How do you read a series?

I was thinking about this the other day, comparing the ways I read books in a series. If the books are just entertainment – mysteries mainly – I will read one book after the other in a continued stream. The Lawrence Blocks series about Matt Scrudder is one I’ll read as soon as the next book comes out. The Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep is another. Just about any mystery series I enjoy falls into this category. I read them as fast as I can get them in my greedy little hands.

If the books touches my heart, however, I put off reading the next book indefinitely. Take the Raven Boys series. I read the first book, The Raven Boys, about a year and a half ago. While reading, I went ahead and got the next book, The Dream Thieves, but I’ve put off reading it until now. I loved the first book. I was a little in love with the character of Ganzy and I was afraid the second book would disappoint; that it wouldn’t be as good as the first. That I wouldn’t be able to hold it to my heart like The Raven Boys. I was afraid the second book would bring changes to the characters I had come to love. I was afraid the premonition of Ganzy’s future might come true and I would lose him.

Just so you know, now that I’d started The Dream Thieves, I love it.

I’ve noticed this trend in myself over the years. Sometimes the second or third book in a series might sit on my shelf for years before I can bring myself to crack the pages and begin. The pain the characters experience, the pain I feel as I become them, is so overwhelmingly intense I simply can’t read further. I see what is coming and I don’t want it to come. I’m like a child pretending if I don’t see the danger – whatever it might be -, it never happens.

Sometimes the character’s pain is so great, I never read the author’s books again. I don’t want to live in the book’s world any more.

How do you read series of books?