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Today's Word



Aug 2, 2021
This week’s theme
Words to describe people

This week’s words

Previous week’s theme
There’s a word for it
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with Anu Garg

At a Fourth of July picnic a few weeks ago, I met a man named Tom who said to me, unprompted, “This whole Covid thing is a hoax.”

I took a couple of seconds to try to read his face and then said, “You are joking?”
“No, yesterday I took part in a protest march against masks and vaccines,” he replied.

“So all those hundreds of millions of people who have come down with the virus?”
“It’s not serious. It’s the flu, basically.”

“And millions who have died?”
“It’s 5G.”

He then handed me this card:

" YOU are EXEMPT  No Mask  No Vaxx"

At the bottom, the card included the address of some glossy website peddling misinformation.

So this is how it works, I wondered. Next time my driving license comes up for renewal, instead of going to the Department of Motor Vehicles, waiting in a line, getting a new picture taken, and more, I’ll just print a nice card at home and carry it in my pocket:

No License No Limits

Same with passports. Why didn’t someone think of it earlier?

It wasn’t going to be good for my health, physical or mental, to be around him, so I parted company. But I had one more question.

“So you don’t use a cellphone then?”
“I do,” he said sheepishly as he patted his pocket. “I really shouldn’t.”

I wanted to tell him to print one of his “YOU are EXEMPT” cards. The 5G ought to respect the card, just as the virus does.

But I didn’t. I only said “Nice to meet you” as I headed to the food table. What restraint!

I have saved the card for posterity. When the human race becomes extinct, not necessarily in this pandemic, and whatever species takes our place and they dig through to find out what happened, this card would shed some light.

The card and the videos of certain politicians (see here and here), pastors (see here and here), and TV hosts (see here and here).

What would you call people like Tom? A gobemouche? A gudgeon? It would be easy to make fun of them, but we have to resist the temptation. Once they hear from someone they trust, their doctor, for example, some people do change their minds.

The best I can describe Tom is: “not a critical thinker”. What words would you use? This week we feature five other words to describe people.



noun: A simple or gullible person.

From very, from Old French verai (true), from Latin verus (true) + green (immature, naive, etc.). Earliest documented use: 1854.

“Mr. Verigreen is persuaded to put up his watch ... and greeny [loses] his watch.”
Outdone; The New York Daily Times; Jun 14, 1854.

Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them. -James Baldwin, writer (2 Aug 1924-1987)

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