Surely all of you who live in the United States have now listened numerous times to the audio clips of Trump talking to Bob Woodward. Never mind the sheer awfulness of Trump revealed by these clips – that goes without saying. I was fascinated by their tone. Trump was clearly sucking up to Woodward, trying to impress him, trying to show him that he, Donald Trump, had the inside scoop on the virus and understood it. Once again, I was struck by Trump’s language. Explaining to Woodward how dangerous the virus is, Trump described it as worse even than a “strenuous” flu. Quite obviously, Trump does not know what “strenuous” means, simply that it is a big word for “very bad.” Just like his father, Trump reveals himself there to be a wannabe from the outer boroughs trying to make it with the big boys in Manhattan. (A personal note: I was reminded of the fact that the year after the big 1968 uprising at Columbia University, which hysterical professors and administrators thought would ruin the University, it was revealed that those same big deal Manhattan real estate brokers had so mishandled Columbia’s endowment during their time as trustees that it took the next president of Columbia 10 years to repair the damage.)
This morning, as I was musing on all of this, I found myself for no reason that I can explain thinking about all the words in the English language that end in –umble. I have in mind bumble, crumble, fumble, grumble, humble, jumble, mumble, rumble, stumble, and tumble. To which can be added numb and dumb. What a strange language English is.