Monthly Archives: November 2013

A Greek Lesson in Taf̱tóti̱ta


Everybody has as reason. A point. A purpose.  A thing.

It’s the reason one person doesn’t go crazy and send the rest of us into spittle-inducing panic attacks, creating the domino effect of human insanity. It can range anywhere from baby-ogling, sinfully fulfilling your Netflix addiction (with Cheetos falling between couch cushions and mascara running down your face), saving people’s lives in a post-op room or on a gurney – or, for some extra-terrestrial humans, completing number computations. (I know. It makes me baby-puke, too.) If there’s anyone out there, who doesn’t have a thing, God bless you and let’s get ready for the apocalypse.

So, in my posh little New York apartment *cough cough, suburban household,* I’ve pondered in hipster-like fashion what it would be like for me to lose words, because I am a geek. When I eyed a stack of Langenscheidt’s Pocket Merriam-Webster Thesaurus, my nerdy little heart did backflips. Each copy was canary yellow with a large, bluish L and black print. Half-Price Books turned into a utopian wonderland, with the stack nestled in the middle of a waterfall cove. Harps and harpsichords played in unison as I ran gracefully towards the stack, snatching up my own gilded copy.

HA. I wish. In reality, I poked my mother in that area of the arm that harbors flab for all but her:

“Mom?” Yes. Eye contact has been acquired.

“Do you see those thesauruses?” Theasauri? “They’re really, really beautiful.”

Closing my eyes to gather up courage, the words stumbled out: “Can I get one?” Finally, my mother’s objective air disappeared like candy on Halloween. She rolled her eyes, smiled, and said…“Yes.”

I know what most words mean but can’t always think of a word so valiant it should be knighted. Thus, thesaurus=jackpot.

Words have been, are, and always will be my meds to fight craziness and my Christian equivalent of reaching Nirvana. To steal from S. E. Hinton, though, “That Was Then, This Is Now.” The horror of losing words became very real on Tuesday: I had miraculously finished studying with a smidgen of time before my nightly lapse into sleep. (This occurs every night at 10 o’clock sharp. Or 10:30. And occasionally 12.) Giddy at the prospect of planning my evening, I pulled out piece of paper and attempted to  just write. Whether or not I deemed it column-worthy for Journalism or not, I didn’t care. Suddenly, though, something inside me snapped, and now, it’s Saturday. I haven’t been able to write a sentence my cats would approve of. My heart has been racing incessantly for the past four days. Frustration and nervousness have reigned with only one other competitor. Cold.

Finally, though, I sat down after eating supper and fulfilling, my heartstrings were bursting with desire. Words are my solace. Can I truly be exiled from them? The answer was delivered with abrupt revelation:

My heart is still racing. I don’t know whether it’s because I’m terrified of losing my only valid talent, I have a heart arrhythmia, or I’m exhilarated to have finally regained my Nirvana. It was real, terrifying, and very much like the song, “Losing My Religion,” but it’s taught me something. A huge part of being who I am is having an abhorrent addiction to words, but it’s not what my reason, point, purpose, or thing is that really matters.

In coining the word, “taf̱tóti̱ta,” for, “identity,” the Greeks were onto something. What you love can never be taken from you: It’s in the mirror and in your heart.