Buck's friend Beverly reached into her handbag to pay for some lilac-scented air freshener at Curly's Soonerco, when Ms. Clarisse van Beauregard sashayed over for some gossip.
“Our book club is going to be discussing the writings of Charles Dickens,” she said. “I read in the Swayback Daily Kick that Charles Dickens was at his best when the reticule of women around him got bigger and prettier.”
“I find it odd that Mr. Dickens should be so much influenced by the purses of the women around him,” said Beverly.
“I suspect that either Ms. Van Beauregard or the Daily Kick is guilty of acyrologism,” said professor Copernicus Claptrap, of the Swayback Polytechnic Institute and Barber College.
Claptrap is correct. Acyrologism is the improper use of a word, as, for instance, the use of “reticule” in place of “retinue.” The two words sound somewhat alike, but have very different meanings.
A reticule is a woman's drawstring handbag, and it does seem unlikely that Dickens would be inspired by a group of those, unless it was something the Artful Dodger used to stow his loot.
A retinue is a group of people who follow and take care of the needs of a rich and famous person.
Buck reckons Charles Dickens did his best work when he was accompanied by more and prettier women, regardless of what kind of handbags they carried.
“I left my reticule in the vestibule,” said Queen Fatifa. “Would somebody from my retinue go and fetch it for me?”
“We'll send your bag man,” said Dale Burnheart, her chauffeur.
Send questions for Buck to BucksEnglish@AOL.com. Please let Buck know what town you're from. For other writing by Gene Owens, go to www.wadesdixieco.com.