To Dave Fichman: Ten Words

One morning in 2005, I arrived to my high school World History class earlier than usual and found my teacher busy scrawling onto a cardboard coffee cup.

“Have you ever done this before?” he asked, holding up the cup after he’d finished writing a particularly long item. “Made a list of your favorite words?”

“No,” I replied, intrigued.

He explained, “I read an article earlier today about it. There are a lot of really great words out there. You should make a list.”

So, in honor of my dear departed teacher, Senior Project mentor, and the man who once startled me in the waiting room at the dentist as I was shaking my cell phone so he could point out with a grin, “You know, it won’t work any better if you do that,” here is my own list of my ten favorite words, which I have edited every few months for the past ten years:

  1. acatalepsy
  2. conglomerate
  3. frigate
  4. nomenclature
  5. penchant
  6. proxy
  7. verklempt
  8. vestibule
  9. obnoxious
  10. desultory

I’ll miss you, Fichman. Thank you for everything you did.


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