This is the question that I recently posed to friends and family and I received some very interesting, educational, and often hilarious responses....which of course I can't help but share. I asked people to not think too much and to respond quickly.
But I will start this by sharing my favorite word: "yes." This is assuming I get to ask the question to which "yes" is the response...like "I won the lottery?" or "Is it sunny out?" or "Wanna have sex?" or "Am I free to go now?" or "Do you love me?" or "Will I die happily in old age with my friends and family around me?" or....well, you get the point. Many of those who responded offered their second (and sometimes third and fourth) choice(s)...so I offer the same.
"Pleasure" is my second fave and this choice is the culmination of a lifetime of thinking too hard about too many things too often. In the movie Venus, Maurice (Peter O'toole), an aged aesthete unapologetically groping (pun intended) for some final connection with carnal beauty, is asked by his aged friend, "Do you believe in anything, Maurice?" Maurice responds, "Pleasure, I like. I've tried to give pleasure. That's all I'd recommend to anyone." It is a very hedonistic "power of now" sorta thing uttered by a man teetering at the brink of death. And I see his point. When all the constructs and romantic narratives crumble at last and the promise of any replacement is gone...there is yet the capacity and desire for him to give (and receive) pleasure. For Maurice, it is the value of pleasure, at last, that endures.
But looking back there have been many words for which I felt a significant affinity. Heady words like "ontology" or "epistemology" or "existential"... the last word being the one I looked up whenever I checked out a dictionary (I used to love looking at period dictionaries...weird, I know). And then of course there is the ineffable word "love"...a word I have more and more committed to just feel and express versus robustly understand and explain.
And lastly there are the more base words that seduce me (again, puns intended). "Lust" and "fuck" are two favorites....and when realized in the order presented, well, we are back to "pleasure." And as my birthdays and contemplations have accumulated I keep coming back to these two simple words, "yes" and "pleasure." And when these two words are married, well, saying yes to pleasure? That works for me.
Next I offer you the responses from my friends and family presented here with only the most insignificant editing and in no particular order.
Zane (age 10)
I so appreciate a foul-mouthed femme!
I think she means it in the British-slang sense....especially since she is a paramedic!
"My favorite word off the top of my head is 'panacea' not to be confused with 'pancetta."
The cure-all or the ham? Wonder what she meant?
"Topolobampo', it is the name of a port city in Mexico (I've never been there) but I love the word! It sounds kinda like falling down stairs, but in a good way, as though perhaps tequila was involved..."
"Delicious'...even when it is used out of context it is perfect."
"First thing that came to mind is 'perseverate."
"ac·cou·ter·ment or ac·cou·tre·ment (-ktr-mnt, -tr-) n.
1. An accessory item of equipment or dress. Often used in the plural.2. Military equipment other than uniforms and weapons. Often used in the plural.3. accouterments or accoutrements Outward forms of recognition; trappings: cathedral ceilings, heated swimming pools, and other accoutrements signaling great wealth.4. Archaic The act of accoutering."
John is nothing if not meticulous!
"Tintinnabulation - since you asked me not to think too much - I like - succubi - quite well as well."
"appreciation" was her first submission but she changed it to "empathy"
"Aujourdhui'....it's French and means today......have always loved it."
Brother Outlaw Jonald (whose name we have bastardized to distinguish him from the other John)
"YES !!!! (a wise woman named Mer told me that one)"
Nephew Ian (age 10)
"Phoopie' a Chico State spawned PG f-word replacement."
"Mine is fun because I seriously like having fun. I want to go to amusement parks and play computer games and read and go to museums and play board games. I search out fun things to do and then look forward to them. I like to laugh and I think a lot of things are funny. One of my favorite sayings is “Some people think life is a battle. It’s not; it’s a game.” The best games are challenging, interesting,…and fun!"
Neice Devyn (age 10)
"Whizpopper - it comes from her favorite book, The Big Friendly Giant by Roald Dahl. The giant drinks soda but in his world, the bubbles go down instead of up and they make farts, which he calls whizpoppers."
Nephew Trent (age 8)
"Trent’s is cheese, which comes from one of his own sayings that he has repeated often: 'I like cheese', said with a dramatic flair. It’s usually said to fill the silence (because god forbid there be any of that) or as a transition to a new topic or as an avoidance (eg, Trent, what are you going to write for your sentence on your homework?....'Um…..I like cheese!”)
Devyn and Trent submitted their words via Julie (their mom).
Niece Riley (age 8)
Niece Avery (age 5)
Her father's name!
And last but hardly least is a most hilarious rambling from my friend Andie. I present it here unedited for your reading pleasure.
"It's a tie between topography (plain old word I get to use often) and Ollantaytumbo (place name I rarely get to use but gets stuck in my head randomly and often; so does it count in your weird little world?). But then there is also archipelago and Titicaca (another place name, but in English I just can't believe how lucky we are to know there is a place with such a name out there! Named far before Bevis and Butthead were created!). I don't like single favorites. Top 5, top 10, maybe even 2 favorites - but in a world with so many amazing choices how can you ever pick just one? Especially if you are a Libra? OK, that was off the top of my head, but I love words so there are plenty more. OOOooo, like rungeechungge, the Nepalese word for colorful. Or Appalachian, but it has to be said correctly. I am working! Damn you! You miss me, don't you? And you get to see me soon. Are you going to put a list together of peoples favorites? I want to see! I bet Ollantaytumbo wins. Well actually, it would probably depend on what kind of words you like, whether foreign words count (anaranjado and pantalones and zappatos are all great), and whether anyone gets to "win"....Didn't you say quick? I will stop now."
Take a breath Andie! And by the way, YOU win for the most longest and hilarious submission! Congratulations!
Thanks for humoring me folks.