Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Word of the Moment 1

I used to draw a comic called Comicabulary. Its purpose was to improve the quality of the world’s (and my own) English vocabulary by providing the definition of a word with an accompanying comic using that word to provide contextual reinforcement. Initially, I did not plan to draw a comic panel. My original intention was to present a silly paragraph or two using the word in outlandish contexts in order to develop a unique and memorable impression of the word. My hope was to create an environment that would promote the memory of the meaning of each word. Writing paragraphs proved to be too difficult for me, so I decided to draw instead. Hence, Comicabulary.

I created a set of these comics and sent them to a friend of a friend who happened to work at a comic syndication company. She told me that the comics were good and delightful, but their company wasn’t looking to promote educational tools and it was not the right kind of comic for them at that time. What she really meant was they sucked. Here’s proof:

I was never very happy with them, since they didn’t have enough of a humorous edge for my tastes. However, I hoped they might appeal to the Reader’s Digest crowd. So, why didn’t I send them to Reader’s Digest? Because, I gave up, of course. I’m not very tenacious – more Teflonacious. Ultimately, I was too enraptured with other aspects of life, like watching TV and thinking about keeping the world safe from alien invasion. Who knows, maybe someday I will exhume the comic. In the meantime, I’m going to give my original idea a go, manifested in a recurring Leper Pop feature: Word of the Moment. I don’t want to call it Word of the Day because, I believe, that title is already being used, and I don’t want to get sued. Besides, there is no way in hell I would be able to do this every day. Wisdom comes from knowing your limitations, or, at least, relying on them.

So, stand back, here it goes.

quoin (kwoin) noun – an exterior angle of a wall or other piece of masonry; cornerstone; keystone. verb – to secure or raise with a quoin.

Nobody cares about the quoins in the world. More often than not, we try to avoid running into the quoins while barreling around corners. Everybody loves barreling around corners. Only the sadistic love to barrel into quoins.

Sure, some quoins are bolstered with thicker bricks than the rest of the wall. Even decorative stone, sometimes. But the intentions of those efforts do not have the quoins’ best interests in mind. Those intentions nourish the structural fortitude of the buildings for which the quoins support. These quoin constructors are more interested in ensuring their buildings do not fall down than they are in praising the quoins.

Let us examine the quoin’s counterpart and archrival – the inside corner. The inside corner lives a nurtured life. The inside corner is basted with attention. The inside corner’s greatest offense is a little dusty build-up that can be wooshed easily away by The Swifter. The inside corners in rooms are always considered when determining the décor.

Woman: Honey, what are we going to put in that corner of the room?
Man: A beer keg refrigerator.
Woman: Don’t be silly. I think I’ll pile my stuffed animals there.
Man: Where do you want the TV?
Woman: Oh, put it in that corner over there, and make sure you don’t hit the exterior angle of the wall of the closet when you move the TV.
Man: You mean the quoin?
Woman: What’s a quoin?
Man: How the hell should I know? Can I put the TV down now?
Woman: Not until I decide what to put in the rest of the corners of the room.
Man: I wish we didn’t decide to buy a house with an octagonal family room.

I’m as guilty as anybody in this matter. In the corners of my family room are my amp, a file cabinet of art/craft supplies, a book case, two pool cues, a door way and a pile of leaves. And of the quoins? Nothing, except my son’s guitar is leaning against one of them, and I will have to beat his ass for that. That’s all I need is for his grandma to come barreling her way from the kitchen and smash the hell out of the guitar with her Gene Simmons commemorative boots we bought her for Christmas last year.

In theory, the quoins are all supposed to be left free of debris so we do not trip on anything when barreling our way through the house. It’s a proven fact that humans love to barrel. We were bred to barrel. The social evolutionary consequences of this aspect of human development has led to unadorned quoins worldwide, except for some third world cultures where barreling around quoins is against their religion.

Barreling is a modern sociological human trait. It is one we share with dogs. Dogs love to barrel around quoins, too. They don’t care what is in their way, especially when there is someone at the door. In fact, they prefer to knock things over when barreling. This is why they wag their tails maniacally, so they can destroy our stuff even if they miss it with their barreling. They don’t care. It’s not like they paid for the stuff or will have to clean up the mess. It seems as if they don’t care about anything except for eating, getting pet and going outside. And barreling. And seeing if somebody is here. Can somebody remind me why we let dogs live with us? They certainly don’t care about quoins. And, neither do we. Maybe that’s the bond that keeps us together. Quoins. Quoins will keep us together. Think of my dog whenever, Some sweet standing quoin comes along while we barrel along, Don’t go around, You gotta be strong, Don’t Stop, ‘cause the quoin really loves you, Stop, the quoin is thinking of you, Look in my heart and let quoins keep us together. Whatever.

I think it’s time to change our view of the quoin. However, before we start enhancing our quoins with plants, and totem poles, and piles of candy that we are supposed to consider as art, and lawn furniture, and urns of ashed loved ones, and giant cardboard cut-outs of Charles Barkley, we will need to become more agile barrelers in order to avoid the items with which we celebrate our quoins. We need to start teaching precision barreling techniques in our schools, write a magazine called Better Barreling and create a home improvement show on TLC called This Old Barreler.

Above all that, we should get to know our quoins. I propose an annual world-wide Hug A Quoin Day. It will be held on the first Thursday of every August, and will require one day of post-hugging recuperation, so we can all enjoy a 4 day weekend in the summer (it is true - I don't care about people in the Southern Hemisphere), when we can actually enjoy ourselves outside, unlike the silly Thanksgiving “holiday” they throw at us in November when it’s usually crummy outside and we are forced to sit inside and eat and get drunk. I guess that’s not so bad, either, but the quoins deserve summer hugs so they can get a sense of our sweat and feel a little bit human, if only for a moment. I implore you all to write a letter to your most sensitive and malleable public official and demand that the quoins have a voice in our government in the form of a summer four day weekend, so we can get drunk outside and maybe even have sex in the woods. The quoins want us to cherish them in this manner. Just be careful to look out for barreling grandmas when you are hugging your quoin or when you having sex in the woods.


del said...

In the corners of my family room are .... and a pile of leaves. I admit this sentence (fragment) distracted me from the celebration of quoins momentarily as I tried to think of a good reason for the leaves, other than nostalgia on a winters day.

Quoin love. What a beautiful thing.

mister can you spare a quoin? said...

Two coins in a fountain....a fountain of beer!

I know it's incorrect usage, but I can't get the idea of two hookers standing on the quoin out of my mind.

keysunset said...

maybe the pile of leaves are for an art project

What caught my eye really was the novice debate club. I really had a laugh out loud at that! "That was never an argument just now!"


HR said...

Quoin is also a great Scrabble word. Not like any of you cool kids care.

Nice Capt'n and Tenille! That was your way of telling Sid you love him, wasn't it. Awwww.

Let me guess: you've never used a "Swifter" in your life...

Thanks for the education, though. I thought I had a chip on my shoulder, but considering the matter further, it might actually be a quoin...

kristy said...

I still don't know the difference between a quoin and a corner. Maybe I need a visual!

Soft Cell said...

Chips on my shoulder
More as I grow older
Feel I owe a debt
For the things I don't get
I only miss out
(Well I was there before)
I sit in a corner
Sit on the floor

Self Pity
Chips on my shoulder

There's no time for fun time
It's sit and complain time
I'll talk about famine
While cooking the dinner
Don't you feel guilty
Don't you feel pity (No)

While my head gets fatter
And the starving get thinner


I should have told her
I've chips on my shoulder
I'm making a stand
While I sit on my arse
Fish and chip supper
While those in the gutter
Can't have a good time
Fun's just a farse

Self Pity
Chips on my shoulder
Chips on my shoulder

Now sing it

213 said...

Now I understand why yesterday, while I was walking my dog, "Love Will Keep Us Together" popped into my head.

Not that I was looking for an explanation.

del said...

Isn't quoin-love still illegal in some states?

And HR, I think a swiffer is part of quoin foreplay... (or so I've heard), so I am pretty sure Moist would be proficient. ;-)

L A Ray said...


Leper Hopeful said...

Comicabulary rocks. Kicks word of the day's ass.

And teflonacious - perfect descriptor.

devious d said...

I'm sorry, but I think the actual word of the moment for this day in the life was actually "barrel" as in "to barrel." Quoin never had a chance.

The "unintentionally spit water out of my nose" line was Grandma in Gene Simmons boots (once I took some time to realize it was Gene and not Richard).

And Moist, you have redeemed yourself in my musical eyes--LWKUT is a true classic. Just don't be trying to work quoin or barrel into Muskrat Love (NOT a classic).

And 213--just as long as the above-mentioned song didn't "poop" into your head when taking the dog on a walk. Sorry, but poop and dog seem to be two words that go together, like quoin and barrel, apparently.