Saturday, March 17, 2007

Time Out...

A couple of months ago I had a conversation with a coworker about the word myriad. She's a word person and shared with me the common mistake of placing of after myriad when it is used as an adjective. (She noticed the myriad of colors in the Picasso= Incorrect. She noticed the myriad colors in the Picasso=Correct.) I had never considered this, but was quite intrigued.

After the informal lesson something strange happened. I can barely remember encountering the word myriad before, but after the conversation I heard and read it everywhere I turned. It appeared in at least two different magazine articles within a couple of days. People all of a sudden began to use myriad in every day discourse. I marveled at the myriad situations it appeared.

There's an interesting lesson here somewhere. I'm sure it has something to do with paying attention, but I don't want to force it. I would like to use it as a segue to my day of Michigan.

This afternoon a lady came into the store looking for a book to help her son with a project about Lake Superior. She told me they've exhausted all the travel guides of Michigan and surrounding states and that they now needed more academic sources. So I spent the better part of too long trying to find all I could on Michigan. Not five minutes after I finished helping her someone else came in looking for a travel guide to Michigan.

So far, not so weird. If you've worked in retail you know about the mystical side of public action. The rules are simple:

--If someone asks for something out of the ordinary, you can bet that someone else
will ask about it soon.
--When you walk away from the phone, it will ring.
--In any store, about every twenty minutes all the customers get together to decide
that they will all go to the cash registers at the same time. The larger the
amount of people, the more apt they are to do this.

Because of this, having two people ask about books on Michigan is not that odd. But then a family came into the store, all of them wearing Michigan Wolverine gear. On my way home I heard on the radio about how Michigan hasn't made it to the NCAA tournament since '98, and that their coach has been fired. I then dove to the store and heard a commercial on the radio with the celebrity Jeff Daniels (of Dumb and Dumber fame,) talk about how amazing it is living in Michigan, and how you should.

Am I going crazy, or is the great spirit in the sky trying to tell me something?


Craig said...

Oh, and hey..a great big Pat on the Back to the first person who can expound on my use of a title for this post.

Doctor Clockwork said...

I'm sure there are at least a couple of reasons why you might consider moving to Michigan, but there are myriad reasons to come and check things out in Seattle.

Is "time out..." something that Pat from your store says?

Craig said...

Nope. "Pat on the Back" was literal. I was going to say I'll give someone a dollar, or a million dollars, or something like that if they can guess. But because I have neither, I offered a literal pat.

jason edwards said...

Was the person who created Time Out from Michigan?

Craig said...

my guess is that the question will go unanswered until blair browning checks my blog.

Blake Williamson said...

well done with the time out reference craig.
you better hope chris webber doesnt frequent your blog. he might be offended.

Blake Williamson said...

ill be back in waco tomorrow to receive my pat.
on the back of course.

Craig said...

far upper back. in the shoulder blade vicinity.

and congratulations.

John said...

ahh... just a note on the use of myriad. it is a noun as well as an adjective... so... yeah. those people were using it correctly.

myr·i·ad (mĭr'ē-əd) Pronunciation Key
1. Constituting a very large, indefinite number; innumerable: the myriad fish in the ocean.
2. Composed of numerous diverse elements or facets: the myriad life of the metropolis.

1. A vast number: the myriads of bees in the hive.
2. Archaic Ten thousand.
[Greek mūrias, mūriad-, ten thousand, from mūrios, countless.]

Usage Note: Throughout most of its history in English myriad was used as a noun, as in a myriad of men. In the 19th century it began to be used in poetry as an adjective, as in myriad men. Both usages in English are acceptable, as in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "Myriad myriads of lives." This poetic, adjectival use became so well entrenched generally that many people came to consider it as the only correct use. In fact, both uses in English are parallel with those of the original ancient Greek. The Greek word mūrias, from which myriad derives, could be used as either a noun or an adjective, but the noun mūrias was used in general prose and in mathematics while the adjective mūrias was used only in poetry.

Craig said...

I read the article as well and knew I would screw it up, so apparantly I did.

The point is that the conversation was over people's misuse of the word, not that I particularly understood the correct usage:)

Tom said...

Seriously?? 10 comments and no one could come up with Chris Webber calling time out with no time outs left in the 1993 NCAA championship game... thus ending the fab 5's chances of a title. I'm no Browning, but I can at least manage that one!

Tom said...

my bad - missed blake's comment. a bit slow tonite...

Blair said...

Dangit - I knew I should've caught up on reading your blog sooner!!

I will add one interesting bit of information though - Chris Webber is my age to the day. Okay, maybe that's only interesting to me, but it's true nonetheless. He also was part of basketball history as he and the rest of the Fab Five at Michigan brought the baggy shorts to the game, which was an excellent evolution from the John Stockton short-shorts that flashed far too much leg above the knee!