To Free One Caught by the Foot


While it suffers from some of the same subtle gender nonsense as “The Lego Movie” (which I LOVE anyway), I can recommend “Guardians of the Galaxy.” In the way that “The Lego Movie” is a manifesto for creativity (and it IS, oh please watch it everyone), “Guardians” felt to me like an ode to friendship. And, there are beautiful moments involving Kevin Bacon/Footloose references, and it is hard to make beautiful moments out of those, so I salute.

The reason the loosening of feet is on my mind today is that I finally asked 1934 Webster’s International about a word that’s been part of my life since 2007 and that I’d never thought all that hard about:


And I’m so delighted I did, because: PED! FOOT! It’s not listed yet, but it’s got to be somewhere because “ped” really just is going to mean “feet.” First, and this would be enough: “expedite”! This feels so different from “expedition” but of course it’s not. I like here how definition 2 offers a conceptual bridge between the instrumentality, the mild inhumanity of definition 1, and the potentially passionate, meandering, highly inexpedient definition 3.  “Progress”: yes. And I have no idea whether the namers of my organization (and I suddenly really need to know who made that decision so long ago) consulted 1934 Webster’s, or other places, and knew of these nuances (knewances!!), but how lovely, really.



Here we can see the actual beauty of “expedite”: it’s not just haste-get the thing done- modernity-efficiency-never mind the humans-whoosh: it is, in a word we at EL like a lot, to facilitate. And even before that, it is to set free. Because we are all caught by our foot on something, and I’m more certain every day that we can go about our lives in such a way as to hear our friends, neighbors, colleagues, students, when they are trying to tell us what their foot is caught on, and where they know they could go if only they could get their foot out, and we can say “Oh wow. I hear you. Want to watch Guardians of the Galaxy with me?”

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