Fondness, Flattery, Impudence, Hysteria. Words kind of suck at their job.

Love Letter Day 7.

Flattery is a curious word. It means “excessive and insincere praise” (Oxford). Did you know that? I didn’t. It comes baked with the implication that fondness is disingenuous. Lately I think the word has been denuded of this sense of grandeur. I think of the word as only complimentary, positive. If I say I’m flattered, I am simply saying I am grateful for the kind words. I do not imply that I think the words are misaligned or over-performed. If I flatter you, I am not punching above our weight. I cannot imagine replacing “flatter” with “praiseworthy.” That would be de jure flattery. But maybe that’s what needs to happen if we’re honoring words at the level of the letter.

Impudence would be the opposite of flattery. A vacancy of due respect. And that’s what we complain about most today. The impudent do not show enough respect. Though I suppose that’s not the same as fondness.

Over-fondness is hysteria. I am hysterical with attention. You are hysterical with attention. I bet you’d make a great cult leader. I sometimes feel like a cult leader. My uncle is a member of a pretty severe and usurious cult that has bankrupted him of his last thread. He is now a ward of the state in Okinawa and is waiting for an alien sun deity to carpool back to Mars. You’re a mirage. Fata morgana.

Words kind of suck at their job. —impudent writer