The dictionary is one of the favorite bound books in my house. I have always randomly looked for interesting words. That, of course, made me a bit of an oddity in rural environments. I looked for the words with the most syllables, words with the fewest vowels, words that had a Latin base, etc. But I never looked for the words that scared me the most.
Through intense research and years of child-experience, I have found the ONE word that absolutely sends chills through me. It is the word, “OOPS!” Its close cousin is “OH, NO!”, and a first cousin-once-removed is “UH-OH!”
I can feel you all nodding, because you understand. Anytime someone says either of those words, and it is heard from another room, a variety of images pop up. An old vase inherited from a great-grandmother, who received it from Queen Victoria? On the floor in pieces, and your cat saunters away. The Hans Solo limited edition something-or-other? The four-year old boy leaves in a blur, as he runs out the room, a leg in each hand. The fantastic Italian veal something that you spent a fortune of time and money on, and which you are taking to a very important dinner in five minutes right after you change your clothes? Spilled all over the living room carpet, by some one who thought he/she would help you by loading it in the car, since you are fifteen minutes late and he/she is really pissed off at you for taking so long.
Or, how about this? You just spent a few hours on a re-write of a re-write, creating a query letter to the publisher, who expressed extreme interest in your writing. You hear the famous “OOPS!” and rush in to find your coffee spilled over the keyboard, sparks flying, and the computer crashing, while your teary-eyed child/grandchild/spouse/casual friend/beloved friend/neighbor looks blankly up at you.
Oh, yes. Forget about names of monsters, diseases, horrific imagined events. On the everyday level, where we usually operate, the scariest word of all is “OOPS!”
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