“I’m working on common terms and phrases that I don’t understand. Can you help me?”
“Maybe, but turn that light off. I don’t like for it to be on while I work.”
C.W. had just interrupted me in his “learning” form. He thinks it resembles a Ph.D., tall, short hair, a southern accent from somewhere like the Atlantic coast. I don’t know. He uses it when the Falloonian elders get on his case for not working hard enough. Somehow they had heard about his new love affair with the Pokemon Go game. Anyway, “What terms?” I asked. I tapped the base of my laptop three times, rotated it 5.0 degrees clockwise and waited.
“I think they are medical terms,” he said. “Specifically a set of initials representing a name, organization, or the like, with each letter pronounced separately; an initialism.”
“You mean an acronym.”
“No, I mean a set of initials …”
“It’s called an acronym,” I said, “and please don’t sit there. It hides my view of the front yard from that window.”
“You are typing,” he said, moving a space on the couch, “not watching the yard.”
“I check it every five minutes,” I said. “Now what terms are troubling you.” I remembered something and stopped. “Did you move the TV remote from its location this morning?”
“What TV remote?”
“The only one we have.”
“I think I carried into the kitchen with me. Why?”
“We mustn’t do that. It has its place on the TV stand and it stays there.”
He ignored me. “My first term is ‘RA,’ but I think I know what it means,” he said, consulting his notes.
“Yes. When Mrs. Big Dope says you have the RA about something, it means you have the red …”
“No,” I said. “That’s not it at all. It means, when used in ads, ‘rheumatoid arthritis.’”
“Why don’t they call it that?”
“I don’t know,” I explained. “I guess it sounds catchier to say RA. Oh, and don’t set your notebook there. That spot is where I keep my dictionary.”
“Jeesh.” He said. “What a grouch.”
“Do you have another term? This is the period of time in the morning when I watch Photoshop tutorials.”
He consulted his notes. “How about ‘COPD?’ I hear that one a lot.”
I thought. “I think it means ‘chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,’ or something like that.” Pleased with myself, I stood and pivoted three times and sat. “What’s next?”
“Something called ‘PTSD,’ and Mrs. Big Dope says you have it. She says that’s what makes you act funny.”
“That’s ridiculous,” I said. “Did she also tell you that she moves the toothpaste from its proper place just to upset me?” I took three deep breaths. “Anyway,” I said, “it stands for ‘post-traumatic stress disorder,’ and there are those who think all military veterans suffer from it, particularly those who served in Vietnam. And have you seen the veteran’s baseball cap I wear on Sundays?”
“No,” he said, rather too quickly, I thought. He continued before I could respond. “You might ask your wife. Besides,” he said, “she didn’t say you developed that disorder during your wartime service.”
“Oh,” I said. “Then when?”
“She says it was during your honeymoon.”
“Do you have another term?” I took my ‘winter-scene’ paperweight from my desk, turned it over and watched the ‘snowflakes’ fall. It relaxed me.
“Here’s one,” he said. “It’s called ‘OCPD.’ I think the first two words are ‘obsessive’ and ‘compulsive,’ but I don’t know the rest.”
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