Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,

The LiveJournal Handle

It's been hinted that maybe my first livejournal entry should have been the background
story to "unzeugmatic". I was going for a livejournal sort of name: cryptic but
distinct, with an explanation.

The "unzeugmatic" story is a personal reference to a sweet time for me, which is to
say my time at Brown, and an early morning moment my senior year. It is also
an extremely private sort of joke, a joke that all the explanation in the world wouldn't
properly convey. But I'll try.

By senior year I had taken all the Latin I would ever need or want, but Virgil expert
Professor Michael Putnam was going to be teaching his course on the Aeneid and I couldn't
pass that up. Before one class, before Professor Putnam had arrived, I announced with
great glee that the Loeb Classics edition of the previous night's section to translate included
the most wonderful footnote I had ever seen. It consisted only of the words "slight zeugma".

I'm sorry, it still makes me giggle.

Somebody in the class -- I vaguely remember his name as Eric, and I know for sure
that he was roommates with my band friend Bob Wells -- turned around to me
and took on what was obviously the facial expression of Professor John Rowe Workman,
grand old man of the Classics department and quite a character. In perfect
Workman tones and phrasing and gesture he waved his hands about and said, "Well...
it's not *unzeugmatic*!"

See, ya' hadda' be there. But even in this retelling it makes me laugh all over again.

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