Monday, November 13, 2017

Parsimony

I have never understood why we are so unjust to some words. I mean, look, we have words meaning practically the same thing and one word we sort of consider embrace like a long-lost friend and the other we twitch our skirts away and walk around as though it is a turd lying on your primrose path.

Take this word 'parsimony' for example. You have that other word 'frugal' which means about the same thing. But call someone 'frugal' and he preens as though he has been given the Nobel Prize for literature. Or, more to the point, the top award for conservation. Frugal seems to indicate the sort of chap who abhors waste and uses his resources carefully to the best effect.

Parsimony, on the other hand, is the poor cousin. To call someone parsimonious is to accuse him of being the sort of chap that becomes the butt of jokes. Somewhat like that kanjoos father and son. (WHAT? THAT word - kanjoos - has not yet entered ANY English dictionary? How remiss of them!) The son is proud of having run after a bus all the way home and saved twenty bucks and the father chides him for not having run after a cab thereby saving two hundred. THAT sort of chap gets called parsimonious. (Come to think of it, kanjoos is a much better word - easier on the typing fingers.)

In other words, when you are frugal, you are the sort of person who does not waste food on your plate. When you are parsimonious, you are the sort of chap who thinks that a slice of bread is too rich a dinner and saves half of it for breakfast. How totally unjust to poor old parsimony.

Though, I suppose, that parsimony will still have the last laugh. Frugal has been basking in praise all this while but, alas, good things do not last...even for words. We have now entered an era when frugal will face the music.

There is a saying in Tamil. It is ideal to have Kuber (the Lord of Wealth) and Sudama (the byword for poverty) possess equal wealth; it is difficult to convert ALL the Sudamas of the world to Kuber; so, we decided to convert Kuber into another Sudama. That was a colorful way of making fun of the idea that, if bringing the poor at par with the rich is the ideal and enriching the poor is difficult, it serves just as well to impoverish the rich.

AND, thus, since giving parsimony a good reputation is tough, we have decided to convert frugal into another bad word.

Vive le EMIs!

4 comments:

  1. Tһat is оbviоus, buut thijk of the implications.

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  2. Enjoyed reading this a lot. Wonder how the original parsim'mons' like Scrooge and Shylock would feel reading this. Would Shylock feel vindicated, would he think he finally has his pound of flesh?? As humorous as it is educational.

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