The Etymology of the Situation

A while ago I briefly pondered the phrase “under way.” The thought flitted across what I refer to as “my mind” that it could be “under weigh,” and may have nautical references.

I was wrong.

A ship has way on it when it is in motion, and thus the idiom to get under way [or underway] means “to begin to move,” just as the idiom to be under way [or underway] is “to be moving,” regardless of whether what’s moving or beginning to move is a ship, a car, or a fund-raising campaign. The idea of weigh, as with an anchor, is an error in either use, although in the past many reputable authors have chosen that form. Under way and underway are both now Standard spellings of both adverbial and adjectival uses. – source

So now I know.

A rather cruddy day indeed

I forgot to take my sleepy-pill last night because I was so tired I fell asleep on the couch WAY too early. I woke up at midnight with a book on my face, a bowl of popcorn on my tummy and a smallish orange cat named Fruitloop on my chest, the TV mumbling away to itself in the corner. Oddly enough I had a Tootsie-Roll in my hand.

I set the Tootsie-Roll down, got the book off my face and nibbled on some popcorn in a speculative sort of way. It’s midnight, I’m dead tired and wide awake, the cat and the wife are both snoring gently away (one of them still on my chest)… Do I force myself to get up and do something productive until I’m sleepy again? It’s too late to take a sleepy-pill. Shall I continue to loll about on the couch, munching popcorn? That sounds good… I don’t have to move that way.

Three-thirty a.m. rolls around. I’m still on the couch, bloodshot peepers staring glazed at the TV. The cat got up once, stretched, turned around three times, and fell back asleep on my legs. I’m out of popcorn, and the Tootsie-Roll has rolled about three inches out of reach. Gaaahhh. Might as well get up.

I extricate myself as gently as possible from the indignant cat, who favors me with a slightly reproachful and groggy-sounding “Merow.” Up I stand, stray bits of popcorn falling out of my beard. I totter off to the facilities, where I’m facilitated. That bit of business over, I decide to sneak into the bedroom and snuggle with my beloved for a bit. Maybe if I get away from the TV and the reading light in the living room I’ll be able to fall asleep.

Three-forty finds me in bed, staring at the fuzzy numbers of the alarm clock. “Alarm,” I think. “Why isn’t it called an ‘awakening clock’? Why does it have to be alarming? Alarm. Alarum…” I then had the sudden realization that for the past 28 years I’ve been putting my glasses on the nightstand every night – right in front of the alarum clock. If I’d simply take a second to slip my spectacles sideways I may avoid the inevitable whacking of the eyeglasses that happens every morning. Odd what you think of at night.

At 3:50, the cat joins us. He curls up on my feet, yawns once, and is out like a light. My Viennese bride is happily snoozing away. I’m staring at the ceiling, wondering if those cracks have always been there. Then I realize that my eyes are closed, and if I’m seeing cracks, there’s probably something wrong. Oh well…

Needless to say, when the klaxon blared at 6:25 a.m., I was finally asleep. With all due groggidity, I aimed a healthy whack at the alarm clock, missing by three inches, hitting my glasses…

“Well, we’re off to a good start,” thought I.

An hour and a quarter later I’d had my shower (though I was too tired to sing), coffee, and was settling down at work. By the time I’d chewed my way through the night’s collection of e-mails, I had the beginnings of a headache and my left eyelid was starting to twitch. You know, this job would be a lot easier if it weren’t for the pesky customers… Always wanting something! The nerve.

Shortly before lunch my e-mail in-box beeped at me. I stirred from my torpid stupor to aim my beady little eyeballs at the new message. It was from my boss. Not good… Turns out my department made a mistake last week. I accidentally left four words off a customer’s newsletter, and the customer was (rightly) steamed about it. Being as proactive as possible, I made a beeline to the boss’ office. “I’ve got documentation showing that we’re okay,” I said, “but push comes to shove, I made the mistake.” After about an hour of being chewed out by both bosses (they questioned pretty much every aspect of my department’s policies and procedures, finally concluding that we’re doing everything right, but we’re in the wrong anyway) I glued my left buttock back into place and resumed my torpid gawking at my computer screen.

I hate making mistakes. I’ve been pondering all afternoon the feasibility of changing departmental procedure to a double-proof method, (a fancy way of saying “Should me and the other guy proofread each other’s stuff”) even though we’re not supposed to be in the business of proofreading…? Nah… After an entire afternoon of headachy contemplation, I’ve come to the conclusion that I do indeed have recommendations to put forth to the bosses.

  1. Chocolate pudding at 10 a.m.
  2. A basketball hoop on the loading dock
  3. Nap from 2:30 to 3
  4. Snacks at 3:30
  5. Beer in the pop machine

Wish me luck.

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