Thursday, July 8, 2010




: aggregation, collection

Surprisingly, not a plural.

My most recent CONGERIES upon returning to Portland:

- a collection of cat hair on my black comforter after two weeks of being away
- a handful of ABC pieces of gum wrapped in old wrappers at the bottom of my carry-on bag after twelve hours of traveling
- 21 emails in my inbox
- a short stack of mail, including: 2 "explanations of benefits" (THIS IS NOT A BILL), 1 social security statement, and the newest issue of Cabinet

I still want this word to be a plural. To my dismay, CONGERY is nothing but a misspelling. Saying "CONGERIES" sounds strange and ill-fitted. This reminds me of the man who owned the laundromat where I had my first ever job: hand-cleaning wedding dresses with harsh chemicals for $5 an hour when I was sixteen. His name was not Roger but Rogers, with an "s." I was always disturbed by that "s." What does that mean? I look up Rogers on to find the name peaked in the 1930's at 551 in rank and plummeted by 1970 into obscurity. Judging by Rogers' (I'm not even really sure where to put the apostrophe...) age, his mother's choice may have been trendy at the time, but now his name just sounds like an inappropriate plural.

After I got my first tattoo—a jack-o-lantern on my inner left wrist—Rogers acted strange around me for a few hours. Then he asked about the bandage.

I just got a tattoo, I said.

Oh, he replied, I thought you had slit your wrist. I was afraid to ask.

Tact: a virtue.

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