Words! I have always loved words! I got the nickname “Ms. Roget” as a sophomore in high school because I was rarely seen in the hallways without my trusty Roget’s Thesaurus tucked under my arm, which I often peered into in search of unusual synonyms to impress people (preferably teachers, but occasionally potential boyfriends) with my extensive vocabulary.

That habit, funny to some, has paid off immeasurably in my writing vocation, and it’s amazing how many times I’ll automatically type a word, then go double-check to see if it’s exactly what I meant to say, and discover it pinpoints my intention perfectly!

Most words have either positive or negative connotations, and some strange kind of innate, perhaps primal, emotional reaction to them. And some are just downright funny-sounding, and make you want to smile. Especially if you’re an immature seventh grader and the word is “organism” or “poop deck.”

Last year on this date, newscasters throughout the US had to confront their inner seventh grader to report that a terrifying haboob had engulfed the city of Phoenix, Arizona.

Pause here for a moment to say “Haboob” three times. Your own inner seventh grader dares you to do that without smiling…

If you didn’t figure it out from the picture above, I’ll explain that haboob is the proper meteorological term for a massive dust cloud, or sand storm, found usually in a desert region such as the middle east, but occasionally, like last year, in Arizona.

Poop! Poop! Poop! That’s probably what they were saying in Phoenix when the haboob hit, or at least some euphemistic synonym for poop, but I’m sure they weren’t smiling when they did so.