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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Sunday, August 26, 2007


As I held down the comfortable chair in the church office lobby and waited for the time to pass and the appointed hour for our men’s group to meet, I strove desperately to think great and deep and wonderful thoughts. Failing at this, I decided to glance around the room and think about the first thing my eyes happened to input into my consciousness. I saw the word “exit” on the lighted sign just over the door going out – this was the same door that I entered earlier but I didn’t let that confuse me.

A thought of wondering came to me about the origin of the word – was this a real word and how did it get to be the standard word above all outgoing doors. I was disappointed that my dictionary only gave the meaning and none of the etymology concerning it. I did know what it meant but discovered from another source that it was Latin and simply meant – he/she leaves. Yet another source just defined it – to go out. It seems that it has a plural form – exeunt – that means ‘they go out’, but is mostly used in stage directions. This would mean on Broadway stages as opposed to the old west.

All the other meanings described various places and events from which one could egress but though I searched much, I could not find exactly when or how this word became the standard – maybe it’s because it was short. While wandering around in the texts concerning this word, I stumbled on the word disambiguation – describing the effort of trying to dispel the confusion about the many things one could exit from. It seems that a person not only can disambiguate something but they can also make it unambiguous.

After clearing the issue up in my mind, I found myself glad that the powers that be didn’t just pick a word out to the air to put over the out-going doors, like rutabaga or something. I have also discovered that tongue-in-cheek stuff puts a strain on the cheek after a while. After a great men’s meeting that was uplifting and spiritually informative, I departed back to the home front.

Later thinking found me searching out the meaning of the word ‘staff’. As suspected, the meaning mostly speaks of a group of people working for and/or supporting a person, group or organization. But the meaning I wanted was also there – a stick, pole, or rod for aid in walking or climbing and for use as a weapon. This brings me to the wild plum branch that I carry in my evening walks.

This was cut while clearing out some unwanted natural growths on our property border and had been allowed to dry. It was smoothed a bit and cut to the length of about 66 inches and is about 1 inch in diameter. I carry it to defend myself from vicious songbirds, outlaw crickets and the occasional maniacal cicada. In spite of my straightening efforts of the staff, it still has a crook in the middle – that sounds vaguely like a political staff to me.

It is now time to exit this writing, God has been good to me and the ones I hold dear – for this I am grateful. ec


Blogger Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8/27/2007 03:06:00 AM  
Blogger Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

May I assume you have never studied Latin, Mr. E? My memory of the lovely word “exit” is that it is derived from the Latin “exire” which mean “to go out.” I remember in high school Latin class that our favorite form of the word was “exibimus,” which means “We shall leave” and we’d say that to one another as we departed the classroom.

8/27/2007 03:08:00 AM  
Blogger mreddie said...

SSN - You assume correctly - to my regret many things during my school years were neglected due to trivial pursuits. My fascination with the language(s) has only surfaced in the last several years with a constant, though a bit meandering, curiosity. ec

8/27/2007 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger itsboopchile said...

What a rambling mind!!!
I'll have to learn how when I am stuck somewhere, waiting, and bored!!!
Betty G

8/27/2007 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger mreddie said...

itsboopchile - It is an amazing world when one is always in wonder and wondering about it. :) ec

8/27/2007 11:26:00 PM  

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