Monday, December 31, 2018


Our word for today is "fulcrum." I have a love-hate relationship with this word.  It means a pivotal point. In fact, fulcrums are essential, if you want an "easy life." Think of the importance of hinges on doors, or that gadget that holds an oar in place on a row boat or the small grey rock I place under my spade in the garden to lift out the Hostas for re-planting.

Yes, fulcrums make life easier. They make things work. However, I don't like the sound of the word. The "ful" sounds too much like "fool" and the "crum" is "crumb." Put them together and they sound nasal, pedantic, almost silly. On the other hand, fulcrum, is too elevated a word for the small inconspicuous devices it describes.

Fulcrum is to physics, as catalyst is to chemistry. What can I say, I love the word catalyst. It sounds like crystals and reminds me of diamonds. A catalyst makes chemical change happen or at least happen faster. It is liquid energy, whereas a fulcrum is some overlooked mechanical pivot, that, OK, maybe makes the world go round, but you wouldn't necessarily know it.

Now apply these words, these concepts to life. If you were choosing a partner, for example, would you want a catalyst or a fulcrum? Would you want some sparkly bit of glamour, who could change your life in a moment? Or would you want the steady rock, the one who bears the weight of the changes, easing the burden of life's transitions, as unobtrusively as a hinge or an oarlock?

In literature, the answer is most beautifully illustrated in Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy. It's worth the read.

The pictures? The best I could do for fulcrum.

Have a pivotal day!!

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