Tuesday, May 16, 2006

"ERSATZ?...What the...


My friend Stratocade has been actively participating in that grand old pastime of mental masturbation, attempting to decide what he wants to be when he grows up and where he wants to do it. One of his latest blogs, inspired by a WSJ article, seems to indicate that the young man has come to the realizations that (1) the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence and/or (2) one does not always appreciate what one has until one contemplates giving it all up for the unknown (probably two ways of saying the same thing)...maturation at work here.

The aforementioned article, "The Ersatz Urban Renaissance" got me to thinking. No, not the article, but the title. First, what is "ersatz"? How do you pronounce it? What does it mean?This is not a word one encounters in conversation in rural North Carolina every day. I have seen it in print and told myself I would look it up. But since I could usually get the gist of what I was reading without actually knowing what "ersatz" meant, I never looked it up, until today.

According to Wikipedia:
"Ersatz is a German word literally meaning substitute or replacement. Although ersatz is used only as an adjective in English, Ersatz can function in German either as a noun on its own, or as an adjective in compound nouns such as Ersatzteile (spare parts) or Ersatzspieler (substitute player). While the English term often implies that the substitution is of unsatisfactory or inferior quality, this connotation does not necessarily exist in the German context."

I'm so glad to know that. I can't wait to find the opportunity to slip it into conversation at church, or better yet, at the weekly Rotary Club meeting. But, of course I can't. I still do not know how to pronounce it. Did it keep it's German flavor, or has it been Anglicized, or bastardized, as has it's meaning in English.

But I guess that Stratocade, being the man of the world that he is, did not encounter the problem that stumped this old country doc. Or he simply skipped over the title, read and digested the article and seems to have made a decision concerning his future.

Good luck to him. May he continue to globe-hop for fun and pleasure, not for work.

Masturbation, at least the mental type, can be fruitful (pun intended).

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