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Vicissitudes of life

Saturday, May 29, 2010

I always liked that word - vicissitudes. Ups and downs of life. Alternations, changes. Life as a roller coaster. And vicissitudes rarely come in the singular form - because they are the ups and downs, they come in sets.

Vicissitudes just sounds like such a nice, fancy, expensive, super-educated way of talking about life's ups and downs. Which of course makes it sound less down, LOL. I mean, if you went to HA-vahd or Oxford or something, how down could life be? Although when I told DH I liked the word "vicissitudes" he thought it only meant the downs - not the ups - I had to look it up to show him. He's like that - he's the down, slightly depressed one in the family. I'm the everlastingly-cheerful one. (The cat is our emotionless Vulcan, LOL)

I have no brilliant insights into the vicissitudes of life today - I'm tired, it's pouring rain out, there's been thunder and lightning, and the internet goes off when it gets too foggy. But we're snug and warm, we have food in the fridge, and I just bought a book I'd like to start reading and read all weekend.

I guess those are all part of the vicissitudes of life too.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    LOL at the lipstick and nailpolish as the up vicissitudes! It definitely dramatizes the mundane - dropping a grocery bag containing wine and eggs, for example. Or tripping over items left out. Vicissitudes.

    I also like the word penultimate. I use that in class periodically, my students look at me as if I'm crazed.

    2882 days ago
    I told you send some of the rain over here. We can use it in Israel. I like the word too.
    2883 days ago
    "Vicissitudes" is a word I've always liked too -- it seems to me to have a built-in irony, slightly self-dramatizing, maybe a little bit trivializing . . . I don't think, for example, we'd be likely to use the word "vicissitudes" to describe serious crises or trauma (terminal illness) or even seriously good stuff (Obama winning the Nobel; these just don't seem to be "vicissitude" material. "Vicissitudes" are always plural and stuff like hitting all the red lights when you're late to the golf course for a tee time, and then shanking into the woods on the tee because there was no time to warm up. And I believe you when you say "vicissitudes" also means the good stuff but have to say in common parlance (another nice word) I've never actually heard it used that way. "I found my favourite shade of lipstick on sale at the drug store and then the matching nailpolish too: ah, sweet vicissitudes of life": not working for me.

    Words are wonderful things!!
    2883 days ago
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