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I am having trouble with English. After a lifetime of thinking I was relatively literate and could put a noun and a verb together without tripping over myself, I've come to the sad realization I'm losing the ability to communicate.

Just the other day, someone stubbed her toe and proclaimed, "It's hurts like the dickens!" Which got me wondering: how much does a dickens hurt? I've read a lot of Charles Dickens, but I can't recall anywhere where he discussed how much pain he felt he should be measured by. After all, if a dickens (whatever he, she or it is) has a high threshold for pain, then the aforementioned toe stubbing incident could be construed as involving barely any hurt.

It was enough to make me say, "Pshaw." Which I've read but have no idea what it means, other than the person who coined the word should have paid Vanna for a couple more vowels.

That was when a friend informed me he was a little "under the weather." I don't know how you get under such a thing. Since to me weather always seems atmospherically inclined, then was my friend really underground? Unlikely, but he could have run afoul of one of those molemen from the old Superman series.

I mentioned my perplexity to said friend, who advised me to "bite the bullet." I've never been inclined to include tiny bits of lead in my diet, though I suppose it could be a good source of roughage, and yes, in the early days of our marriage it could be descriptive of certain meals, but what the heck.

Even the title of this short piece. I hereby confess, freely and of my own good will, that I have no idea what a phonic is, or for that matter, how you can have two of them and why the plural isn't spelled fonix.

Am I destined to wander this planet not knowing what anyone is talking about? I'd have more to say, but I have to save my breath. Later I'm going to once again try to "blow my socks off". Previous attempts have proven futile, so I'm conserving my lung capacity for the next attempt. Also I think I'll study Italian.


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