Tag Archives: google

Q is for a “word” I hate: qua.

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.

Welcome to Bookworm! (That’s what the worm says if you’ve got the volume turned on when you open it up. It’s also what my sister says if you ever mention the game. Apparently, it provides endless hours of entertainment while breast feeding or pumping or the like.)

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.


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.

Here’s why:

Google search for "qua"
Google search for “qua”

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.

Definitions by Google... even better than dictionary sites. Super impressed.
Definitions by Google… even better than dictionary sites. Super impressed.

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.

Too much yes. No!

My friend Chris Lema says no a lot. Seriously. Google “I say no a lot” and see what happens.

See? Chris Lema.

(What you don’t find in The Google is something that Chris Lema’s close-and-personals know: he says yes even more. Hence, his insane level of busy. But don’t tell anyone- that’s a secret.)

Me? Ugh… I never say no. Even when I want to. Even when I really should.

I know it’s a lame and whiny thing to complain about, especially considering that it’s 100% self-inflicted, but dang, it’s catching up to me.

For the first year, maybe two, after I graduated from grad school I was super careful not to take anything home with me– no nights, no weekends. I got my 40 hours in, I got my work done, and I was productive and happy. But then I started saying yes to more and more extras, more and more deadlines, and I can’t… stop…

It’s like I’m addicted. But I need to kick the habit because it’s sucking away my time, and consequently, my happiness.

When I’m short on time, I don’t blog. But I really, really like blogging. And when I’m short on time, it makes household chores seem so much worse because they’re just crappy things on top of more crappy things. And worst of all, when I’m short on time, even fun things feel like nothing more than other things that I have to do.

That’s enough! Time to reclaim my time! Time to channel my inner Lema and say NO when no is what I really need to be saying.


… but not until I get back from Phoenix next week. Kind of boxed myself in with deadlines up until my plane departs. Oops.

In other news: I’m going to Phoenix next week! Yay! I went to the HMO Research Network (HMORN) conference for the first time last year and l-o-v-e-d it… loved it so much that I’m going back again! (Actually, I don’t really get to choose, but a series of generous physician-scientist benefactors have allowed me to go two years in a row now, and thank goodness for that!) I know HMOs have a really negative connotation (I’ve seen Sicko… and yes, it disturbed me), but at the HMORN conference last year I was pleasantly surprised with the number of people and number of initiatives with HMO that are truly dedicated to improving patient care. All of the organizations there have dedicated research branches– Marshfield Clinic, Kaiser Permanente, Group Health, Geisinger, Pilgrim Health, etc. It’s pretty awesome.

But more importantly (and superficially, of course): PHOENIX.

Phoenix vs Marshfield

That’s a 50 degree difference… plus, complete lack of precipitation, frozen or otherwise, in Phoenix. Yes, please!


PS: Did you actually click on the hyperlink for “I say no a lot”? You should… it’s hilarious. Have you seen Let Me Google That for You? It’s geniusly sarcastic and I love it.