UNDER THE MICROSCOPE

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09/18/2006 - 9:26 p.m.

THE JELLY IN MY HEAD

I'm not losing my mind but I'm losing my words. I've always lost a few words here and there. I am convinced that the game "Charades" was invented by a poor person who, like me, has always occasionally looked for words that are not there. Many is the time I have said to FogieKnight, "Please turn on the…" and then proceeded to use my hands to outline a box and then made a noise like ksssh, kssh. Luckily, he does not guess dishwasher because he usually is in charge of the dishwasher. He knows I mean the washer because the dryer motion is more circular and ends with a buzz. But either it's getting worse or my coping mechanisms are getting odder.

I've always liked languages. In school I took both French and Spanish. I've taken some American Sign Language and some Hebrew. I'm good with languages. I remember a fair amount of the French and I find uses for the Spanish in dealing with some of my clients. My accent stinks but my tendency to press on and talk around any word I do not know has served me well. Don't know the word for "crib" in Spanish and need one for a baby Kat from a hotel maid who speaks no English? Fine, ask her for a small bed for a baby and you'll get one.

I have begun to use that tactic more and more to cope with the word loss. It works well. Earlier today, I asked my secretary for………I tried punching the air, but she did not get it. I picked up the stapler and said, "Like staples but with no stapler." She got it and handed me a box of paper clips. I could not think of the word "five" when making change and said of my ten dollar bill, "they add up to two of these."

But there's one tactic that is dubious. I have begun using what I can best describe as "almost replacements." Using them gets me what I need, often after a bit of puzzlement, but more often after long and loud laughter or a disapproving look from offspring. Never mind that I might really be trying to help someone else. I guess it's just funny when you turn to your teenage daughter and ask if she still needs to go to the drugstore to pick up "windshield washer fluid for your eyes." I suppose she can't be faulted for taking a few minutes to recover from disbelief and respond something such as "Do you mean contact lens solution?" I suppose it is amusing when you ask a colleague if he needs more paper for the "copier that doesn't" instead of the printer.

And so, I am on a quest to figure out where those missing words go. When I find them, I'll scoop them up and put them where they belong---right in the jelly in my head.

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