Windbreaking News: White-collar crimes


My imagination has been investigating the case of Maureen O’Connor, the felonious former first female mayor of San Diego, who “donated” two million dollars from a philanthropic foundation to a number of casinos she frequented. Apparently, she misunderstood what the casinos meant when they told her they “worked with” people who have gambling addictions.



Ms. O’Connor’s attorney, Eugene Iredale, had this to say:

 This was not, we think, a psychiatric problem or a characterological defect because there is substantial evidence that during this same time, there was a tumor growing in her brain, in the centers of the brain that affect and control, logic, reasoning and, most importantly, judgment.



Due to these extenuating circumstances, Ms. O’Connor will undoubtedly receive a lighter sentence. However, word has leaked out (snuck out by my imagination from the unexplored part of my brain) that her lawyer, Mr. Iredale, is facing charges of his own.



Like his client, Mr. Iredale is being accused of misappropriation. In her case, it involves money and affects a limited number of people; in his case, it involves suffixes and affects all of us.




As an attorney, Mr. Iredale has long lived in a lavish environment of polysyllabic diction (lots of big words) and now feels compelled to include at least one seven-syllable word every time he talks, even if it means stealing suffixes from legitimate, hardworking words. In the article on the CNN website, Mr. Iredale (now incurring ire over dale and hill) sticks a stolen “-ological” onto “character” and comes up with “characterological defect.” His crime may affect millions. Now that he has put that so-called word on the internet, people may start using “characterological,” which will cause other people to want to poke their ears with sharp sticks; and those poked-out ear people will need otolaryngological help, which will only be available if that particular suffix isn’t stolen. Clearly, this man must be punished.



Several local groups have laid claim to the suffix that Mr. Iredale so wantonly pilfered. The local San Diego Archea-……. Center insists he stole it from them. However, the Gastroenterology Department of the San Diego Mercy Hospital contends that the suffix belongs to them. Dr. Gutzman, head of the department and the man leading the probe into what happened to the tail end of their medical word, says he has been unable to treat any gastroenter-…….. problems since Iredale’s “appropriation.” In addition, Morton Liebig, has brought suit against Iredale. “I’ve been a path-……. liar all of my life, and since that article appeared on the CNN website, I have been diagnosed with WCTS (Washington’s Cherry Tree Syndrome) and can no longer tell a lie. I’m a lawyer, too, and now I’m out of work.”



The court, of course, will have to sort through these claims and make the final decision as to whose suffix Mr. Iredale stole.



According to sources in my own living room, Mr. Iredale plans to have an MRI to check the part of his brain that affects and controls “logic, reasoning, and most importantly, judgment.”



Ironic, no? Or as Mr. Iredale might say, “Ironicological, isn’t it?”



Photo: DN-0080053, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum.


27 thoughts on “Windbreaking News: White-collar crimes

  1. ah, wonderful… laughed right through it. Now I’m trying to train my cat to chase and catch stolen suffixes, sulking around with no apparent purpose. We have to put a stop to this.

  2. I work for lawyers and transcribe medical file summaries – the best of both worlds linguistologically speaking. It is amazing how medical words can be combined by the replacement of “al” with “o” – metacarpophalangeal, neuropsychiatrist, thoracolumbar, neurotransforaminal, etc. I have to add these to my “custom” dictionary so that I can spot when I accidentally for get to use the magic “o”.

  3. Morton Liebig could borrow -etic to complete his truncated word 🙂 it might not mean the same thing but the sense is perhaps suitable. Maybe we need a suffix tree to grow new ones, but then they might proliferate ineluctably! I have heard of sophistry, maybe the suffixtree is related? But it may be preferable to keep it mythological 😀

  4. “characterological defect”

    your reference to this assassination of language as we know it reminded me of a time that I made a comment on someone’s blog, and their response to my comment included the following words: bowdlerize, preposterousness, and sapience … after I consulted my dictionary to define the one I didn’t recognize, it became clear that he was trying to tell me that he thought my comment was absurdly lacking in wisdom, and that his response was being censored to exclude the many expletives that should have been attached to his response. He obviously had strong feelings about my comment (which spoke to having the ability to make choices about shifting our perspective). What really had me giggling like a ninny was his use of the word criminologically, which he used to describe my choice of words, as well as my overall opinion on the subject. Although criminologically is actually a valid word, his use of it didn’t fit the context, and as tempting as it was to engage him in word warfare, I opted to gracefully exit the conversation. Giggling all the way.

    I love language, and despite my adoration of the sport, have never professed to be anything but an amateur. Your tale of this criminally felonious assault on our language was delightfully delicious. In fact, it was scrumptilogical.

    • You have to wonder if he wrote his reply to your comment using a Thesaurus to make himself sound smart. It never works.

      I received a comment once from someone who wrote like that. Apparently he took me seriously and used a lot of big words to explain why what I said was wrong. As much as I enjoyed his comment, I deleted it. 🙂

  5. Gracious! This is one of your most educationalogical posts yet. I’m so glad that the smartness of it was so pointed as to be able to bypass all of my metastasizing brain tubers and get to the less potato-like portion (small as it is) of my thinker.

  6. He wanted to distinguish his client from someone who has a problem with characters: letters of the alphabet and numerals, a real handicap for managing money, but apparently not the case with his client. An important psychobabblistical distinction to make.

  7. Oh, so this explains all the legaleze-speak that lawyers always pull on us normal people. Almost as infuriating as the crap we’re hearing out of Washington DC.

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