You guys, I got taken in two days in a row. It took me a few hours yesterday to realize that the story about Donald Trump and handwashing couldn't be true (you can find it via Snopes if you didn't see it and are curious), and then today I believed that the widely shared "inaugural poem" was written for the inauguration. It's strange living in a world where you can't always tell the difference between the actual newspaper and The Onion.
Whatever a person might think about the content of the inaugural poem*, it is a veritable festival of anapests. An anap-festival, one might say. It sparked a dinner table discussion about metric feet. I do love dinner table conversations about metric feet. When one of my kids says, in response to a pounded-out illustration of dactylic hexameter, "Wait, you said those were dactyls but wasn't the last one a spondee?" -- it doesn't just warm the cockles of my heart. It practically flambés them. And this was, unexpectedly, a different kid from the one talking about spondees in April. Here's a snippet from that post:
Last night my basement was host to a pack of teenaged boys, one of whom belonged to me. Elwood told me he overheard a snippet of conversation, in which the boy in question said: "Well, my mom can recite the Iliad in Greek." (Insert another pause, for me to crack up at the memory. My dad can beat your dad at arm-wrestling; my mom can recite more ancient epic poetry than your mom.) This is the same kid who was recently learning about scansion in his English class, and he came home grumbling about the teacher's definition of a metric foot. "She said it was a collection of syllables including at least one stressed and one unstressed syllable, and of course you know what I wanted to know," he announced at dinner. I raised an eyebrow. "WHAT ABOUT THE SPONDEE?" he burst out, a picture of indignation.
The next day he told the teacher about our conversation. She said, "First, it wasn't my definition; it was the textbook's definition. And second, who talks about that at dinner? Don't you have anything better to talk about?"
But my answer is no: I can't really think of anything I'd rather talk about with my family. It makes me fiercely happy to hear my son thinking about how words can fit together to make something beautiful and memorable, something transcendent.
So here I am, eating humble pie. I mentioned the handwashing incident in confession today, because it speaks of a willingness to believe the worst of DJT that I need to eradicate. And I was wrong to say Trump has accomplished nothing good since the election: I am confident that we wouldn't have had this particular conversation about anapests without him. So thanks, DJT. I'd prefer it if you could find a Secretary of Education who was actually committed to free and appropriate public education for all, but failing that I'll appreciate the anapests.
*The lassies' champion. I can't even.