It's the little things that make all the difference. Having posted about North Texas cricket infestations, fire ants, and Dubya's cabinet, it is time to come clear. Entomology is the scientific study of insects. Etymology is the study of the origin and historical development of a word. Etymologists rarely need nets, and entomologists don't carry loaded dictionaries. Eighth graders are a fascinating species to one and pure torture to the other. My junior high English teacher got so disgusted with those of us sentenced to her honors class that she literally threw the book at us. It is mighty scary when a sixty-five year-old woman in black Wicked Witch of the West shoes starts spittle-ranting a roomful of kids who don't get "Beowulf". When she becomes imbued with the strength of an Olympic shotputter and throws Webster's Dictionaries around the room you are going to be scarred for life.
Despite Miss Madsen, still twitching her mustache and communicating her eternal disdain from the Big Junior High in the Sky, I am thankful for an outstanding education in English. I am grateful, too, for the climate of recognition of authority if not necessarily respect that still existed in the schools of the 1970's. Zeus and his lightning bolts could never have been as motivating as a well-heaved dictionary and the threat of Your Permanent Record.