Bill Ervolino finds that trying to be nice can have its pitfalls

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Last week, my cousin Caroline stopped by with a holiday gift.

“Ooh, a poinsettia!” I squealed, as if she’d just presented me with a duffel bag filled with $50 bills. “How thoughtful!”

My Uncle Vinny once had a poinsettia that thrived in his sunny living room for four years. Mine die in a week. First, the flowers fall off. Then, the leaves wither and drop. Then, all I’m left with is a nubby stem that sneers at me all day.

I grew up calling these things “poyn-set-uhs” for the same reason my high school buds called me “Erv” instead of “Ervolino.” Americans don’t have the stamina for four-syllable words. 

“Poyn-set-ee-uhs” is too much of a mouthful.

Things are different in the Netherlands, where the Dutch enjoy inventing scary, polysyllabic Frankensteins. Among my favorites: “meervoudigepersoonlijkheidsstoornissen,” which, perhaps fittingly, means multiple personality disorders.



Bill Ervolino finds that trying to be nice can have its pitfalls originally appeared via rssfeeds.northjersey.com