Our Town – April 21, 2016
The Soupster’s argument is decimated, but it does good. When Trudy Frost saw the Soupster approach her downtown, she emitted a groan. He had that stumbling roll to his gait that made Trudy think her friend’s mind was someplace else. She had a lunch date with him and wanted his attention. “Look up, Soupster,” Trudy…
The Soupster’s argument is decimated, but it does good.
When Trudy Frost saw the Soupster approach her downtown, she emitted a groan. He had that stumbling roll to his gait that made Trudy think her friend’s mind was someplace else. She had a lunch date with him and wanted his attention.
“Look up, Soupster,” Trudy yelled. “There’s a whole world around you!”
“You’re right,” the Soupster said as he neared his friend. “Wake up and smell the coffee or whatever it is you drink in the morning.”
“Oolong tea,” she said.
The two friends exchanged pleasantries. They decided to lunch at Sea Dog, both opting for franks smothered in chili, cheese and onions.
“Do you make lists?” Trudy asked the Soupster when they sat down to eat. “Me and Warren make lists like crazy. We keep the list on the kitchen wall and review it each night before bed to see what can be erased and what needs to be added. It’s become a ritual between us. Checking the list.”
“And?” asked the Soupster.
“Other than that, Warren never really talks to me anymore,” she said. “His voice is always so flat and then I hear my own voice sounding the same way. Our communication is decimated.” Trudy ended with a sad sigh.
The Soupster knew he should express sympathy for his friend. He looked down at his food, speared a pinto bean and ate it. Then, for reasons not even the Soupster understood, he decided to play the part of a pedantic idiot.
“Well, you can surely do worse than losing 10 percent of your communication,” he said.
“Say what?” Trudy asked.
“The word decimate means to reduce by one tenth,” said the Soupster. “These days, everybody is using decimate to mean `destroy utterly.’ But it’s based on a Roman military punishment. To punish the group, every 10th soldier was executed.”
“Lighten up, Soupster,” Trudy said. “People have been using decimate to mean destroy a huge part of for a long time. In fact, if I wanted to be a pedantic idiot I might comment that there is another theory that the word has its roots in taxation and the religious practice of tithing and that it was only applied retroactively to the describe the Roman practice.”
“But I have to tell you, Soupster,” Trudy continued, “tussling verbally with you feels really good. To engage with somebody after Mr. Two-Word-Sentences.”
“Maybe you should pick some fights with Warren?” said the Soupster, straying again into dangerous territory.
But Trudy only laughed. “Yeah,” she said, “I should put `Have an Argument’ on the list!”
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