Sunday, November 08, 2015
And You Call Yourself a Wordsmith!
I'm a writer. I think of myself as something of a wordsmith. Who would have thought I'd have been mortified by a word?
My birthstone - August - is a peridot. My birthstone has been a peridot for 69 years.
Two weeks ago, my friend, Brenda, and I went to Decatur, Indiana. There is a store there that buys estate jewelry all year long, then during the month of October, they have a huge sale. I thought it would be a fun trip although I wasn't in the market for any jewelry.
Then I saw a peridot ring I simply had to have - a rather large peridot with diamond chips pave set into the band on each side. It wasn't simply that I thought the ring was beautiful, though I did. Rather it recalled a sweet memory. My first husband bought me a peridot ring for my 18th birthday - a 19-year-old who bought a ring he couldn't comfortably afford for his girlfriend. I remember how happy he was when he gave it to me and how happy I was to receive it.
When the son born from that marriage was a teenager, he went through a rebellious, delinquent stage. He stole the ring to sell for, I don't know, cigarettes or gas or weed. He never owned up to the theft until several years later when he apologized. I just thought I'd lost it.
So this ring made me think of that ring and of a time in my life when I was young and loved and in love.
When I took it up to the clerk (who was also the store owner), I told her that story. She looked at me rather pityingly and said, "oh, my dear, it isn't a periDOT, it is a periDOUGH."
I had been mispronouncing the name of my birthstone for almost 70 years. Did no one not want to embarrass me by correcting me? Or do most people, like me, not realize the a word spelled P.E.R.I.D.O.T. doesn't end with a .DOT but a .DOUGH?
How can you call yourself a wordsmith when you can't correctly pronounce the name of your birthstone and continue to make the same mistake for 69 years?