During a recent computer session, I latched onto the website for the Merriam Webster Dictionary. The term Saccadic Fixation came into my life as the result of searching for information on a rather new Lions Club program called “Reading Between the Lions.” This program is based on the response of the human eye that makes reading possible. Evidently, there are people (kids especially) whose eye muscles are not able to skip from word to word, or phrase to phrase. This program has been developed to test kids for this eye function, and to discover those kids whose eyes don’t respond effectively. The early test results show that as many as ten percent of kids between kindergarten and first grade have this problem. The program developers have also invented eye exercises that can correct the condition and make happy readers out of the ten percent.

Don’t ask me how I got to the M-W dictionary web site but I did. While there I discovered a page called Time Traveler that listed all the new words that were added during each year going back to the fourteenth century. Out of curiosity I searched for my birth year (MCMXXXVIII) and read through the entire list of 243 new words, or terms added. There was a lot of new stuff that was going on in that year. Compare that to the list of 2022 which has one new word so far, ‘spongy moth’. My infantile mind immediately shifted into gear and assumed that in the past VIII decades we have learned everything there is to know and we are now so smart we don’t need any new words. Or, it could mean that since the government invented the Department of Education our linguistic development has become atrophied and word development is too difficult for us to master. Or it could mean a lot of other things too, like our Saccadic Fixation has been undiscovered, and undeveloped, and we have become a world of non-readers. What the heck why read when you can look it up on Youtube?

Whenever I write a post I have my dictionary open and visible on the same page for two reasons: 1) to check my spelling, 2) to check that the word I am using really means what I think. I often use words that sound like what I mean but they are not even close, they just sound good so I plod on and use them. I can ramble on and on about words and word use, but I don’t feel mentally sharp enough at this moment to challenge myself.

Yesterday, I had drinks with a friend who has a neat ability to buy unique birthday gifts for the members of our weekly wine club. For instance, he knows I am fascinated by things made from wood so he presented me with a wood carving of a fisherman in a boat. Another time he gifted a friend who is a financial advisor with a six inch diameter snow-globe so he could look into the future for stock tips. When it came to the youngest in the group, who happens to also be a foxy young lass (Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker), he has deferred to a first class bottle of wine. She registered disappointment by scolding him for not getting her something unique and creative like he did for the others in the group. Last night he told me he had solved the problem. He buys all of his gifts from ‘Goodwill’, a store whose inventory consists of other people’s junk, and never pays more that three dollars. He found an old Merriam Webster dictionary for $2 which weighs about ten pounds and is nearly ten inches thick. He will present it to the lassie because she is a professional student who has never stopped going to school.

So how is this post for writing something about nothing and coming to some kind of logical end?