(And why I adore John Cusack)
I have been a reader for a long time. The class bookworm (never meant as a compliment).
I was one of the first people in New Zealand to get a Kobo ereader, and I bought my first Kindle via mail order within weeks of Amazon announcing they now shipped to New Zealand. I love Goodreads: it’s where I first met people who had the same childhood stories I had, who didn’t think reading a book a week was a lot (hey, some of my Goodreads friends read a book a day and don’t consider themselves heavy readers).
In the years before the internet, I was the kid who read Nancy Drew novels at seven, the teen who read by torchlight under the bedcovers, and the adult who read everything I could lay my eyes on.
I was the child who was teased for using “big” words, who was asked if I’d swallowed a dictionary. For the record, apt is not a big word, and it’s officially at fifth-grade level in the US (a ten-year-old). So me using “apt” at fifteen shouldn’t have been worthy of comment.
This is why Con Air is one of my favourite movies (you didn’t see that one coming, did you?). There’s this scene where John Cusack’s character is describing an off-stage character to a DEA agent (played by Colm Meaney):
John Cusack: He’s known to be somewhat garrulous in the company of thieves.
Colm Meaney: Garrulous. What is garrulous?
John Cusack: That would be loquacious, verbose, effusive. How about chatty?
DEA agent: What’s with dictionary boy? [in demeaning tone]
John Cusack: I think thesaurus boy would be more appropriate.
You can watch it yourself: it starts at the 53 second mark in this video (note that Meaney’s character has a potty mouth, unlike Cusack’s character). And that’s why I adore John Cusack. Well, Vince Larkin. Yes, I know Cusack didn’t write the lines. But he delivered them like he could relate.
If I’d seen that movie when I was in high school, I would have had the perfect comeback to, “did you swallow a dictionary?”
No. A thesaurus.