“I have never in my life experienced any benefits from having a strong vocabulary,” claims the Friar:
During the school years, polysyllables attracted “donees” for my lunch money but repelled the chicks en masse. When writing for the newspaper, they earned me significant editing. While they were useful in seminary, that’s still a form of academia and is therefore of no value to the real world. In fact, seminary gave me an entirely new realm of vocabulary I can’t use in real life, such as “hypostatic union.” The phrase refers to the Christian understanding of how the divine and human natures of Christ co-relate within one person, but I’m never going to say it in a sermon. Not because other people can’t understand it — but because if I do use it I’ll have to explain it and I’m lazy.
Those of us who did not hear The Calling will look at “hypostatic” and think of something like Discwasher, which is supposed to remove dust, and by inference noise, from phonograph records. (Yes, I have one. Why do you ask?)
The one real thrill of having a passing acquaintance with those ten-dollar words, I think, was that you could watch Firing Line, listen to Buckley spill out unScrabbleable terms like “eleemosynary,” and not roll your eyes.