Category Archives: Higher Education

Non Sequitors: Verb-ing Nouns

For those of you who know I used to be an English major, keep your mouth shut and don’t comment on my bastardization of the English language. Just don’t. (Please?)

To verb a noun. What does that mean? Why would you destroy grammar in such a terrible fashion? Here’s why – because it’s hilarious. Not only is it hilarious, it can bring a new level of descriptiveness to a feeling or an event.
The first noun I ever verb-ed is perennially my favorite. The noun I used was Charlie Brown. To describe the moment that I verb-ed this noun requires some embellishment, so enjoy the story. One day, a gray and drizzly day, the kind that frizzles the hair and dampens the soul, I sat staring with great melancholy out my window. I felt strange, sad, friendless, lonely and blue. I felt just like Charlie Brown.

And so, I was Charlie Brown-ing. It’s like bumming out, but with a much brighter t-shirt and a much rounder head. And it seems silly, but it really was the most accurate description for how I felt. The fact that Charlie Brown is despairingly pathetic is what endears us to him. (Although I doubt the mood I was in endeared me to anyone in the slightest.)

The more I thought about Charlie Brown, his persona and character, the more I realized that Charlie Brown is not just a feeling, Charlie Brown is an action. Charlie Brown disheartens those around him, he spreads his gloom. He sighs and bemoans his unrequited love of a redhead. Who can be happy around that? So, when I’m feeling particularly gloomy and have a perverse need to make others feel the same way, I Charlie Brown it. A happy, light hearted conversation? I Charlie Brown-ed that conversation.

As ludicrous an idea and concept as it may be, it makes sense, and it makes me smile.

What other nouns would you verb?

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Reason #487 I Could Never Be a Political Pioneer

I’m taking a Political Psychology course online for Summer Session II. It turns out I hate online courses, because the lack of true class discussion makes me dry up a little in my brain fluids. But that’s besides the point.

I’ve made it through a few of Dostoevsky’s short stories, which I absolutely loved. I’ve never read something that so simply critiqued mankind without being an outright critique of mankind. I wouldn’t call it subtle, but let’s say Dostoevsky makes being a curmudgeonly asshole James Dean level cool.

Freud on the other hand. (Civilization and Its Discontents) Well, Freud is about as subtle as my 85 year-old grandfather telling me my skirt is too short. Freud is so markedly obvious in his disdain for the choices of mankind that, once you figure out what exactly in convoluted chaos he’s talking about, you can’t help but wonder how he had any friends at all.

But aside from picking favorites here, I’ll get to the title point. Each man (Dostoevsky a little more so) clearly states his point. I’m not sure I could so fully form an opinion on mankind in the way that these men have. Granted, I’m only 21, but I’m not sure I have the kind of backbone it takes to be so resolute in something. While I (painfully obviously) favor Dostoevsky, and agree with most of what he says about the basic failure of mankind, there’s still a little flare of hope in me. A teeny little spark that maybe, just maybe, mankind isn’t as pitiful and hopeless as I so often think.

I believe that it is that little spark in me, and maybe other people, that could prevent me from ever forming a strong enough opinion to affect generations of people. But I wonder if that little spark makes me more human, and makes me one of those people that can be affected by men like Dostoevsky and Freud.