In response to Judy Dykstra-Brown’s poem using oodles of impressive words, I offer the experience of Ben Franklin, an episode that led to deep contrition, when he tried to show himself wise. My apologies if you’ve read this before.
At one point in Ben Franklin’s youth he became enchanted with impressive-sounding words. One day he told his mother, “I’ve imbibed an acephalous mollusc.”
She gasped. Thinking he’d eaten some poison she promptly dosed him with a foul-tasting concoction that made him vomit. The poor boy retched for hours. Once his stomach was settled again, he told his mother all he’d done was eaten an oyster.
“You naughty boy, scaring the wits out of me like that!” And she gave him a good thrashing.
He says this experience cured him of his liking for pomposity; that day he decided he’d never again use fancy words when simple ones would do.