Mot juste

May 16, 2008 § 5 Comments

From the card that came with a bottle of scotch:

It is miserable to be really broke.  But it is more miserable to be really broke and sober.


There’s a word that has been on my mind lately: fellow-feeling.  It is one of those expressions that teeters on the edge of archaism, the kind that, in the absence of more precise terminologies, one secretly yearns to revive. 

Fellow-feeling is synonymous with the word sympathy, but it strikes the ear differently.  It is a compound noun and a densely layered one, which, in addition to its noun-ness, possesses elements of verb, adverb, and even adjective.  Between them lies its meaning: someone feels, or has felt, as you do.

These last weeks, I have become keenly aware of the presence and absence of this quality, and there is something in the difference that speaks volumes about both friendship and politics.  I am considering this as I drink a glass of scotch, slowly, savouring its bite.



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