The heartbreak of affixation


Pictures of kittens used merely for shock value.

WARNING: Due to some unfortunate and unforeseeable circumstances, today’s post, which was supposed to appear yesterday, is probably going to be tomorrow’s post. It is an elusive pack of words that I’ve been trying to corral all morning, but they’re out in the back forty, wandering around. Every time I get near them, they stampede. Thus, today’s words, which were intended for tomorrow, are here today, docile as kittens, but not house-trained. Please try not to step in anything.


Yesterday I talked about how untrained business people do bad things to nouns by attaching wings and trying to make them fly as verbs, merely fertilizing park benches and other nonliving objects. Some sent as carrier pigeons have messages stuffed in their beaks, but fly backwards, ending up in all the wrong places. Most drop the message and spent the rest of their lives flying overhead, making a lot of noise but not a lot of sense, and releasing something that looks like snow but isn’t.


People suited for business are not suited to affix words.


At night I weep for the wee little nouns that have been almost suffixed to death because someone thought it would fun to add “-ize” to them. The merry little bucket being carried up the hill by Jack and Jill is grabbed from the children’s chubby fingers and finds itself in a business meeting with men in suits making it say “bucketize” while “organize” is marginalized, and no one will make eye contact with it.  Later, in a different city, a young girl pours out her heart in her diary, dotting all the “i’s” with hearts, and then tucks it in a drawer. That night, some thug hired by a multinational business breaks into the house, steals the diary, and the next morning women in suits command their underlings to “diarize” the meeting. And where is “record”? Crying its eyes out in the bathroom, that’s where.

Don't let more cents be lost in board rooms.

Most heartbreaking of all are those pennies you fail to pick up because you don’t think they are worth anything. Friend, stoop down, humble yourself, that penny needs you. Don’t ask questions about how it got lost or how many hands it has allowed to hold it. Every penny deserves another chance. Corporations have people trolling the streets looking for lost pennies, promising them jobs in board rooms, and telling them they can hobnob with paper money. But, people, all of those cents picked up by these corporate criminals are affixed in ways that permanently disfigure them, forcing them to spend the rest of their lives as an “incent” or an “incentivize” or, worst of all, a “disincentivize.” That’s no way to live. People who do that to nouns should have their “-ize” removed.


Harsh? Yes, it’s harsh, but think what they are doing to those nouns.


Affixation should be left to professional wordmasters. I am currently meeting with my imagination to discuss the idea of licensing. We believe that skilled wordmasters should practice a kind of catch and release, in which words are temporarily affixed to use on blogs. Once the posting is over, the trained wordmaster carefully detaches any and all affixes and releases the word back into the wild.


Takeaway for the day:  Change up your life. If you see a penny on the street, don’t walk by; pick it up. It makes more sense to take it home than to leave it there.


27 thoughts on “The heartbreak of affixation

  1. What bothers me in the language of today, is the use of the word “like” (however not when it is used in response to my blog) people,(mostly young) use it as a pause, such as…”like I went to the Mall, like, yesterday and like, guess who was there.. _______ he/she’s like, the best looking boy/girl like, I have ever seen like, in my life,” etc. etc.
    Also the use of the word wise as a suffix,, speechwise, timewise, automotivewise, chocolatewise (knew that one would get you attentionwise.) Sorry for the vent but you started it.

  2. I guffawed this morning because I, too, accidentally reversed a post… again. It seemed a little ironic as you were just talking about this yesterday.

    As you know I am a huge fan of all your writing, but this speaks to my grammar-crazy little heart in a special way. You have a special gift for making language, and the mechanics of language, fresh for me.

    Yearstricken, you have many, many writer’s gifts and I’m so glad you share some of them with us, your readers! Thanks for that.

    • Courtenay, it always makes me happy when you like something I write.

      I have a post I’ve been trying/meaning to write but other posts push past it like little thieves, stealing parts of it. I don’t know if there is any more of it to write about.

      I offer paltry gifts to gracious receivers.

  3. A very amusing post, year-stricken… but behind it all lurks a subject that we would do well to notice. I’ve always believed that there is great beauty in the free growth and change of a language. But as you say, the cynical manipulations of words by commercial interests often seem to torture the personality of the language.

  4. There was this one time a few Summers ago when a friend and I were really thirsty and we knew that they sold four cans of Fanta for a pound in this cheap (and incredible shop. Between us, we only had about sixty pence, so we scrutinised the streets for about an hour and found all the pennies we needed – bar one. We couldn’t find another one anywhere but it turned out that I actually had another forty pence in my pocket that I’d forgotten about. In the end, we got our drinks and it sure was a lot of fun!

    I always feel bad for the pennies, especially in Winter. Although I also think that you shouldn’t pick them up in a city or densely populated area because I’m sure that there are probably homeless people who could really benefit from them.

    I imagine that said homeless person and the pennies could become best friends and gather around a little fire, sharing their stories and experiences.

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