The Epitome of Awkwardness

The executive vice president of a business unit at the company I worked for at the time was standing in front of a large room full of people. It was one of those corporate “rah-rah,” motivational meetings and he was presenting recognition awards for outstanding contributions by employees.

He clearly was reading, possibly for the first time, from a narrative that someone had prepared for him. As he read the accomplishments of a particular individual, he was attempting to articulate how this award winner was the personification of a diligent employee.

He said, “Joe Schmo (I can’t remember the guy’s name) is the epitome of efficiency.” If he had used the word “personification,” he’d have been fine. But when he read the word “epitome,” a synonym for “personification,” he totally mangled its pronunciation. It was a very awkward moment.

No doubt you know that the proper pronunciation of the word “epitome” is “ih-pit-uh-mee.” It’s not “epi-tome.” But “epi-tome” is the way this senior executive pronounced it.

The closest way to get across in print the way he said that word, since you can’t hear what he said, is to use another word that, when pronounced out loud, would approximate the way he pronounced “epitome.” Substitute “hippodrome” or “Thunderdome” as a way to pronounce epitome. You get it, right?


Written for these daily prompts: MMA Storytime (motivation), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (epitome), and Word of the Day Challenge (awkward).

I Can’t Believe This is Actually Happening

A coup inspired and promoted by Donald Trump, the sitting President of the United States, is taking place right before our eyes. Trump supporters have breached the Capitol building. The U.S. Senate chamber has been evacuated. There is chaos in the House chamber and the National Guard is being summoned to clear the protesters from the Capitol building.

And Donald Trump is fiddling while Washington burns and our American democracy dies.

MLMM Photo Challenge — Prime Suspect

The uniformed officer met detectives Fred Morrisey and Ron Hayden when they arrived on the scene. “This is the way we found her, detectives,” the officer said. “The body hasn’t been touched and the ME should be arriving any minute now.”

“Who found the body?” Hayden asked.

“A man was walking his dog about an hour ago,” the detective answered. “He said that his dog was attracted to something, and he went to investigate. That’s when he said he saw the girl and called 9-1-1 on his cell.”

Morrisey leaned over to get a closer look at the body. “She seems to be naked except for some flowers in her hair and around her neck. And the way her body is situated beneath the underbrush that is spread on top of and all around her, it suggests to me that the scene might have been deliberately staged.”

“She has such a peaceful look, as if she’s just sleeping,” Hayden said. “Do you think the killing involves some sort of ritual?”

“Possibly,” Morrisey said, “or perhaps it’s an indication of compassion or remorse on the part of the killer, but it’s too early to say one way or the other.” He directed Hayden to re-interview the man who found the body and waited for the ME to show up, which she did a few minutes later. Morrisey shook her hand as she got to the scene. “Hell of a way to start the day, Doc,” Morrisey said to Sharon Albright, the medical examiner.

Dr. Albright knelt by the body. “She’s got good color. Her death must have been within the past hour or two,” she said. Then the ME touched the body. “And she’s still warm.” The ME cleared away the underbrush, uncovering the girl’s nakedness, and inserted a rectal thermometer into the body. After reading the body’s temperature, and making a few calculations, the ME looked up at Morrisey and confirmed that the time of death was likely no more than ninety minutes earlier.

Morrisey walked over to the uniformed officer and instructed him to go over to where detective Hayden was interviewing the man who found the body and called 9-1-1. “He’s now our prime suspect, “Morrisey said. “Handcuff him and read him his rights.”


Written for the Mindlovemisery Menagerie Photo Challenge. Photo credit: AlexandriaSophie at DeviantArt. And for The Daily Spur (scene).