Sometimes late at night when I’m having trouble falling asleep, I pull out my iPhone (terrible for sleep, I know!) and play the game Bookworm until I finally find myself drifting off. It started off as more of an obsession, of course, as all iPhone games do, but I eventually got millions of points and got bored of it and now it’s like counting sheep. Except when there’s a dang Q.
The basic premise of the game is to make words and get points without letting one of the flaming tiles get to the bottom of the board. If it does– BOOM! The whole thing explodes and it’s game over.
Q is, just as in Scrabble, kind of a toughy, but Bookworm actually gives you the u to go with it and counts that Q-U combo as two letters of the three letter minimum. After that, it becomes relatively easy to add an A, make the word “qua” and move on.
Except freaking QUA. What… the… heck???
I can’t stand words I just don’t get. It stresses me out.
CAN’T STAND IT.
It’s why I quit Words With Friends real quick.
You see, it’s not that I don’t believe that words I don’t understand are real words. I’m perfectly capable of looking them up, reading the definition, and moving on with my life. I’m also perfectly cool with made up, Dr. Suess-style words because generally I get them, even though they are for fake and have no true Websterian definition. (See, Webserian, I can even make up my own words. And you, intelligent reader, no doubt get what I mean.)
But qua? I just can’t handle it.
Obnoxious. Perhaps a few other sample sentences would help:
The work of art qua art can be judged by aesthetic criteria only. (Thanks, Dictionary.com)
<discussing the story qua story> (Very helpful, Mirriam-Webster.com)
he’s hard to pin down if you get him on entertainment qua entertainment (Right, oxforddictionaries.com, very good)
It’s all clear now, eh?
Except it’s not to me. Granted, according to Google (what a sweet graph!), it’s an old word and usage has waned considerably over time.
But even in that case, I can usually appreciate a word anyway.
For example, I’m currently reading the book The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco as part of our 1001 book challenge. The book was first published in Italian in 1980 and translated into English in 1983 (love me some Wiki!), but takes place in the 14th century and is written accordingly. I’m super glad that I’m reading it on my Kindle because it allows me to quickly look up words I don’t already know or can’t figure out from the context… or those that I can figure out, but make me curious anyway. Like pudenda, another word for the external genital organs. It’s like the 14th century monk’s way of saying cock, in my mind anyway. And I get that.
I don’t get qua.
Perhaps I never will.
And it bugs me.
Worst of all: I continue to use it to avoid letting my little game blow up in my face. Honestly, I try to make queen or quiet or quote instead, but those are tough, and more often than not, I resort to qua. And for that, I am ashamed.
Such a tiny little word to cause such a large amount of stress in my life. Clearly, I have a problem. And that problem is words.
Words are also the solution though, and here I share qua with you. Now it’s your problem, too. Can you give me a better sentence? Something more useful? A better reason for this QUA?! I’d appreciate it very much.