I am a freelancer in the publishing industry, so words are very important to me. I'm a leftist living in a world gone mad, so politics are very important to me. I'm an environmentalist living in a degrading world, so pick up your damn trash, get rid of your gas guzzlers, and don't touch ANWR, you self-absorbed capitalists!

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11 January 2006

Word Wednesday: Let's Hand out Some Recognitio!

Back when I still participated in the slave market (before I started hiring out my lance for free, that is), I worked for a year at one of those ubiquitous consulting firms (let’s call them ABC Technologies) that spends most of its time forcing workers to participate in meaningless, meandering staff meetings. And because half our workforce happened to be at the client’s site most of the time, we office drudges would be sitting around a conference table, chatting with a phone set up in the middle of the table.

Now, ABC Technologies understood the need for a happy workforce, and a happy workforce is one in which achievement is acknowledged. So, when someone did something particularly noteworthy, we’d give them kudos [from the Greek kydos; praise given for achievement].

I’d like to interrupt the story here to tell you about a college friend of mine, named Lucie. Now, Lucie liked language, and at gatherings she always would mention how the plural of octopus should really be octopodes, because the roots for the word were octo [eight] + pous [foot] (both Greek words), and the Greek plural would be formed by “podes”, not “pi” as those upstart Romans did in their language. And we’d nod, hmphh, roll our eyes, and hand her another Milwaukee Beast (or chug our own, depending on our mood).

Fast-forward back to the ABC Technologies meeting, where one fine day the office manager decides to mention the good acts of one of our workerbees. He described the project she was working on, the stuff she did above and beyond the call of duty (or paycheck), and ended by saying, “M— deserves a great kudo for her work on this!”

A kudo? A KUDO? It took all I had not to groan out loud. Let’s not back-form in front of the children, please. Sheesh.

Lucie, wherever you are: I’m sorry I rolled my eyes. I get it now. And I totally agree. It should be octopodes.