the branch of zoology that studies insects
I could invent a teakettle that reads in Dad’s voice, so I could fall asleep, or maybe a set of kettles that sings the chorus of “Yellow Submarine,” which is a song by the Beatles, who I love, because
entomology is one of my raisons d'etre, which is a French expression that I know.
someone opposed to violence as a means of settling disputes
I told him, “I’m a
pacifist,” and since most people my age don’t know what that means, I turned around and told the others, “I don’t think it’s right to destroy people’s privates."
someone who denies the existence of god
Even though I’m not anymore, I used to be an
atheist, which means I didn’t believe in things that couldn’t be observed.
subnormal body temperature
I remember thinking that even if I were suffering
hypothermia, I would never, ever put on those mittens.
a large burial chamber, usually above ground
“Now that I’m thinking about it,” I told Gerald, “they could make an incredibly long limousine that had its back seat at your mom’s VJ and its front seat at your
mausoleum, and it would be as long as your life.”
the act of reconnoitring (especially to gain information about an enemy or potential enemy)
A great game that Dad and I would sometimes play on Sundays was
having a probability too low to inspire belief
I even made kite-fliers reel in their kites so I could examine them, although I knew it was
done or made using whatever is available
He read to the hundreds of gathered press from a
makeshift media center off the back of the family home
of recognized authority or excellence
“He was always very
an enlightening or astonishing disclosure
I had the
revelation that I could connect the dots to make “cyborg,” and “platypus,” and “boobs,” and even “Oskar,” if you were extremely Chinese.
a person who receives support and protection from an influential patron who furthers the protege's career
Can I please be your
given to rhetoric, emphasizing style at the expense of thought
“My question was
showing intellectual penetration or emotional depth
“And” was the next word I lost, probably because it was so close to her name, what a simple word to say, what a
profound word to lose, I had to say “ampersand,” which sounded ridiculous, but there it is, “I’d like a coffee ampersand something sweet,” nobody would choose to be like that.
characterized by directness in manner or speech; without subtlety or evasion
Or ever, if I’m being
an apparatus consisting of an object mounted so that it swings freely under the influence of gravity
We used to Greco-Roman wrestle on the floor in there, and tell hilarious jokes, and once we hung a
pendulum from the ceiling and put a circle of dominoes on the floor to prove that the earth rotated.
a person disposed to take a favorable view of things
I asked her, “Are you an
optimist or a pessimist?”
a person who expects the worst
I asked her, “Are you an optimist or a
mental or emotional as opposed to physical in nature
"It’s just one of those
psychological things, I guess.”
reason for being
That night when I decided that finding the lock was my ultimate
raison d'etre—the raison that was the master over all other raisons—I really needed to hear him.
containing or expressing accusation
“You were using your