By Don Rush

The year is almost a month old already and I have laid another birthday to rest and as I sit here and type my fourth Don’t Rush Me column of 2022, I remembered I haven’t written about my Word of The Year . . . yet.
As a refresher to regular readers and to fill in new readers, since 2016 I have randomly picked a word out of the dictionary and have set out to let that word direct me throughout the rest of the year. I started this because I have no willpower; I am weak; and in the face of making a new year’s resolution, I am as yeller as a perfectly ripe banana.
Exercise more? Bah!
Lose weight? I think not!
Give up on those fun vices? Perish the thought, you peasant!
Since there are no resolutions in my life, I went for an easy way out, I picked my word of the year — and, believe me, I have had some good words (as a single word each year) to ponder or reflect on, before taking action. A word to live by, if you will.
My first Word of the Year was gonna’ be “canoodle” because everybody, especially me, needs more kissing and cuddling amorously in their life. But, while we all know canoodling is cool, I thought maybe, just maybe I needed a more thoughtful word. I closed my eyes, sat down and crossed my legs lotus position-like, touched my thumbs to my middle fingers, cleared my mind and breathed deeply.
In my mind’s eye colors swirled in a dense mist, then, behind the mist lightning flashed. There was no sound, yet I heard the answer I was looking for. “Go to the oldest, biggest dictionary, Donald. Find your word.”
The dictionary I turned to is one I have used since May 30, 1985. It’s always been right there in our composition department for all in our office to use. I love this dictionary. It’s Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged, published in Springfield, MA in 1965. It’s 2,662 pages of knowledge and words. And, since 2016, each January I solemnly walk over to, bow my head, close my eyes and flip through all those pages until I hear an inner voice say, “Stop.” Eyes still closed I let my right index finger move over the two open pages before me.
In 2016, my Word of the Year tickled my inner-Neanderthal brain — Valor. With courage and valor, I plugged along 2016, mostly with my head held high as to see the adversity coming my way. Then I hit 2017. I repeated my ritual, finger circling, zigzagging until it stopped . . . my word was there, under my right pointy digit, I slowly opened my eyes and read: Naked Bulb. Yeah, well that didn’t work out well for me. The definition for Naked Bulb, “A plant bulb consisting of scales as distinguished from a tunicate bulb,” left me scratching my head. I went through 2017, naked and alone, but I learned something: I could survive and, indeed even grow.
Enter 2018: I slowly opened my left, then right eye and leaned over my right pointing finger and found my Word of The Year (it was on Page 1,087): Honour. Not bad! And, so that year I lived with a keen sense of ethical conduct: integrity as a man of honor; one’s word given as a guarantee of performance on my honor, I will be there.
In 2019 I landed on Page 1,353 and my word was one I had never read or heard before: “Machaeridia.” That word means “sword or dagger” or “a small group of Ordovician and Devonian animal fossils that are worm-like.” Needless to say, I went through 2019 keeping my sword (pen) sharp.
2020 and 2021 were kind of blurs, I guess. I wrote about COVID-19, its effect on our communities and how our community newspapers would survive. It was more of a giving two years of Don’t Rush Me. Be still your beating hearts, this year the Word of the Year is back! Eyes closed and fingers working I landed up on Page 2,389. (Drum roll, please): the word to live by in 2022 is, Thyself.
All I can say is, “World and those living on it, watchout. This could be the year of Don and no one is safe!”
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