Wednesday, August 8, 2012


verb, transitive. To criticize someone or something harshly.

The meeting broke up and the crowd that comprised the customer moved away to their cars, discussing their plans for lunch. She gathered her notes after a final glance-over and headed back to her office, pleased about all the information that had been exchanged and about all the plans that had been made. Everyone was going to make money when this project got rolling. As she walked, she began to smile.

Her boss was blocking the entrance to her room, glaring as she approached. She began to feel a foreboding. She paused when she was facing him. Before she could ask him what was wrong, he began to lambaste her:

“I can’t believe what you told them about those ads,” he cried. “I was struck speechless!” Mentally, she reviewed the few statements she had ventured during the meeting. She didn’t think any of the information she had volunteered had been erroneous--in fact, she was sure of it.

He went on: “I’m getting more and more frustrated with you. I’m reaching the end of my rope!” With that, he turned and charged down the hall toward his own office.

She watched him, her smile having fled along with her positive mood. She should have confronted him and demanded that he specify exactly what he thought she had done that was so wrong. Again, as occurred more and more often these days, she wondered whether this tirade was evidence of the onset of dementia. Should she call his wife and broach the subject? That might lead to worse problems for her. He wasn’t threatening to fire her--not yet.

She sighed and entered her small sanctum, knowing she would succumb to tears at some point, very soon.

Definitions adapted from The New Oxford American Dictionary, Oxford University Press, Inc., 2005 (eBook Edition, copyright 2008), and from Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam Company, Publishers, Springfield, Massachusetts, USA, 1965, depending on which is more convenient to hand.

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