My favorite word? ‘Lunch.’ I’ve tried to change my mind. ‘Babble, brindle, lyric, stencil.’ These are all more poetic, sexier mots than ‘lunch.’ ‘Lunch’ with its single syllable, its tendency to rhyme with ‘munch’ and ‘hunch’ and ‘bunch.’ These all seem such slovenly, barbaric words. “Chew your food, Ann,” my mother would say. “Slowly. Taste your food.” Munching flew against her delicate sensibilities. It’s not far from gnawing and gnashing. ‘Hunch,’ on the other hand, isn’t such a bad-sounding fellow, if you’re speaking of the inkling that arrives, unbidden, yet with wide-open arms. ‘Hunch’ over your plate, your book, your can of PBR, however, and again you’ve stumbled into Frowzyland. And forget about the word ‘bunch,’ as it comes pinky-linked to ‘panties,’ as in ‘panties in a bunch.’ So, just … no to ‘bunch.’ I suppose I’m drawn to ‘lunch’ for its musical qualities: la la la luuuunch, its high-noonish timeslot, and its brazen insistence to qualify as verb as well as noun. I don’t so much like it as a verb. In Kernville, one does not ‘lunch.’ Ya grab lunch or ya eat lunch. Whatcha doin’ fer lunch? The lunch menu costs a little less than the dinner menu, and the portions are a tad smaller. Perhaps my fondness for the word harks back to schooldays, when the teacher would say, “It’s recess” and “It’s lunch” as if pronouncing, “It’s Christmas!” She’d do it every day, but it never lost its charm. I remember when a new girl moved into the neighborhood from Georgia, and her mother referred to lunch as dinner and dinner as supper. I about lost my mind.
What is your favorite word? Why? Does it delight you? Or does it haunt you, as ‘lunch’ does for me?
(Full disclosure: Breakfast is actually my favorite meal of the day. I often have breakfast foods for lunch and/or dinner.)