Sunday April 15th 2012 Tim
The word "pontificate" arrives
via a Medieval Latin word meaning "act as an ecclesiastic." Which
itself was a reworking of the Latin word "Pontifex." Which was the
title of "a man on the highest council of priests."
And more often, a conjunction of the words, "highest," "council" and
"priest," implies a successful career in a profession which places value
on interpreting the relationship between members of our species and what
I will describe as "The Great Mystery of Being."
"Pontificate," is to express opinions or judgments in a pompous or
dogmatic way. Safe to say, I actually prefer the expression, "Laying
down the law about the habits of Baboons and the number of quills a
Porcupine has got." A splendid annunciation of meaning
in the word pontificate that I first heard from a man in a wheel chair,
or was it the tenor who played piano. I do remember one was called Flanders, the other
Either way, for the next
couple of days, I intend to pontificate. Achieve levels of self
importance that go so far beyond pompous, they will mushroom into
"megalomania," or even "smug."
Some might ask the question, "Why forsake a perfectly
reasonable expression like 'Laying down the law,' for a word
which in our language has so long an association with Gods, Godliness
and their Priests?" My answer has to do with the word "Greedy."
Greedy, comes to English from Anglo Saxon words that
combined "hunger" with "covetousness." And here I like one of the German words for "greedy" which is
"habsüchtig." "Haben" means "have." "Sücht"
has a meaning that lies somewhere in the words
"sickness" or "disease" or "obsession" or "addiction" or
"fever." And interesting to note that when attempting to divine the meaning of the word "habsüchtig"
many favor the idea that "sickness" or "disease" is meant in the
more respectable sense of "passion for." Rather than in the physiological sense of running a
terminal fever then succumbing to disfiguring pox or incurable palsy.
So Yes, I would like to spend the
next couple of days pontificating. Becoming a pulpiteer. Hanging out the
bucket. Thumping the drum on the corner of the street, as I have seen
others do. Poor, self righteous bastard.