Thursday, October 23, 2008

A word we don't use anymore.

There is something sublimely wonderful and very-un-twenty-first century about sitting in a comfortable leather chair with a good reading lamp, putting on some classical music and reading a bit of Charles Dickens. For whatever reason, doing so today provides, at least for me, particular comfort.

The word "Come-uppance" has always struck me as particularly Dickensian. The product of an ordered universe where generosity and heart are rewarded and mean skin-flintedness are punished.

It occurs to me that come-uppance, the word and the notion of just desserts, had become hopelessly archaic. A relic of a by-gone Dickensian world. Now, though no one uses the word, the notion seems to be re-emerging.

I think that's a good thing.

Think about it. One of the great internet success stories, eBay (eBay's CEO, Meg Whitman, was actually considered as a Republican VP candidate) is essentially a national rummage sale. And what is a rummage sale but the getting rid of the too much junk you've accumulated needlessly or recklessly.

This is what we've done as a society. Accumulate recklessly.

Come-uppance is coming.

1 comment:

Scot said...

"Comeuppance" is a word “we” don’t use anymore? Who’s “we”? I still see the word in print, and I’ve been known to use it myself on occasion. Although I never see it spelled with a hyphen.