Words are funny things. A few years ago I came across the word “perspicacious.” I don’t think it had crossed my path before, so I just passed it in context and kept reading. And then it showed up at least twice again over the course of the same book, so I gave in and looked it up.
Perspicacious: having keen mental perception and understanding.
Charming word. Fun to say. And today, for no apparent conscious reason, it popped back into my head again, and I couldn’t for the life of me remember what it meant. But my mind started playing games with it, tossing it around like a slinky, pulling it apart, squeezing it back together again, and all of a sudden it decided that the planet has been missing a very important literary figure named Perspicacity Jones. And when I looked up the word again, I was even more convinced.
Perspicacity Jones: gutsy, witty adventuress, possibly Australian, a sort of mesh of the best parts of Pippi Longstocking, Harriet the Spy, Indiana Jones and Sherlock Holmes (and just as much fun to say as Benedict Cumberbatch). I suppose she would have some sort of achilles heel—all heroes do…
But I have no idea what it is. Because she doesn’t exist yet. But she could. Maybe someday she will. Regardless, I’m sure I will never have to look that word up ever again.
As the brain slinky was roaming around, it remembered seeing a similar name somewhere, and, sure enough, courtesy of Terry Pratchett, there is actually a Miss Perspicacia Tick, witch finder and teacher of Tiffany Aching in Pratchett’s “Wee Free Men” books. Miss Tick is a witch finder in a good way, though, helpful to young girls born to be witches in areas where it’s unfavorable to be a witch, and is also an excellent practitioner of escape techniques when found out to be a witch herself. These are hilariously funny, wonderful, and rather wry books about young Tiffany’s road to becoming an extremely practical community witch, aided by a group of completely recalcitrant little blue men who will drink anything, fight anyone, and say a lot of things not repeatable in proper society. Can’t say enough great things about this series. Of course, people over the age of 18 probably shouldn’t be allowed to read these books.
Poor Joel Stein. He misses so much.