Author: JamieKate
•5:19 PM
You can always spot a solitary childhood reader if you talk with them. You’re having a wonderful conversation with them, plodding along, getting to know one another, when suddenly, they’ll come out with something like, “Oh, I hate celebrities these days. They always look so amassiated.”

You pause. You think, I’ve never heard that word before. I must be dumb. Or maybe I misheard, I’d like to not think I’m dumb. “They look what?”

“Amassiated. You know. Skinny, like they haven’t eaten.”

Oh. Emaciated! Then why did they say it funny? 

I recall, when I was younger, I had an extensive vocabulary I was always afraid to use, mostly because sometimes I would find out a word I had been pronouncing one way my whole existence was meant to be pronounced completely different. Like, for instance, monastery. MAHN-ah-stayr-ee. Right? Wrong. To me, it was “moh-NASS-turr-ee.” Emphasis on the middle syllable (and on the ignorance).

Another example. A pedophile is a gross adult who is attracted to children and shouldn’t be allowed to be around playgrounds. Yes. We have that settled. But lil ol’ Jamie, in her wee years, had never heard it said without “a” in front of it, so she thought the whole phrase was one word: apedophile. Which, now, with my knowledge of Latin prefixes, I know means the opposite of a pedophile (a person who is reviled by children, perhaps? Or a child who is only attracted to adults?). Either way, I was wrong.

I read when I was younger. Books were replacements of friends. (I now know, also, that this was caused by acute Social Anxiety disorder, but that’s another blog post for another time.) But books, while they were awesome friends on the whole, do not have many skills of rapport. I couldn’t say something to them and get either confirmation or denial of my stupidity in saying something a certain way. So I never learned. And when I finally read the word “monastery” aloud one day in my junior year of high school (yup, it took that long) my teacher had to stop me.

“Uh. Jamie. It’s MAHN-ah-stayr-ee.”

“What? No, it’s not.”

A few giggles from the class, and a glare from my teacher. “Yes, it is. MAHN-ah-stare-ee.”

Did you need a lesson on how to spot a child who had books instead of friends? I doubt it. But you’ve now had one all the same.

Jamie, out.
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