Word of the Day: deictic

This is a story that  I wrote during the height of the “Pluto-planet” controversy. I tweaked it to make it not so dated.

Today’s Word:


As in:

Five years ago Pluto,was  “downgraded” from “major” planet to “minor” planet.

Earthlings have always been fond of the little, icy world on the edge of our system. When it was discovered in 1930, Walt Disney felt that the name Pluto, and the new, noble planet it represented, would be a fitting moniker for the pet of his cartoon mouse, Mickey.

The news that Pluto would remain at least still be planet, has given hope to the members of the “Make Greenland a Continent Club,” an organization dedicated to the recognition of Greenland as a the world’s smallest continent. The group offers several arguments as to why Greenland should be “promoted” and feel that merely looking at the size of the island on a map is deictic enough to support their claim.

“If you look at Greenland on an ordinary classroom map, you will see our point.
Greenland is far larger than Australia, which has full continent status.” (This
comparison is based upon looking at a Mercator projection map, not based on
actual size relationships.) says the group’s President and founder. “I find it
rude that such a large land mass would be treated in such a fashion.”

Of course, after the Lake Champlain incident, (in which the relatively small
lake was awarded designation as a “Great Lake”, and then later that designation
was rescinded) the group had given up hope that Greenland would ever be
reclassified, and was trying to console itself with the fact that Greenland, if
not the world’s smallest continent, was still the world’s largest island.

Well, so much for that. Actually, there is a “Make Greenland a Continent” club.
It was “founded” by my sister, largely, I think, for the sole purpose of having
interesting debates with me. We would each take a side in the “important”
Greenland debate, and just argue for the sake of arguing. It was a fun mental
exercise, more about the game than about the topic of conversation. In fact, for
a class I took on Buddhism, I wrote a paper on the arguments we would have, ones much like the Greenland argument, as a sort of almost Zen intellectual game. The arguments were never hostile, just exercises, and sometimes, we would switch sides and argue the other side of the case. My professor was so amused by the whole thing, he asked me to ask my sister if he could join the “Make Greenland a Continent Club”. My sister, who was equally pleased, sent him a membership card and made him Vice President and Treasurer. He then asked her to pay her membership dues.

deictic: / DIK-tik / adj. from the Greek. directly pointing out or proving;

I figured, it was a good thing to pick a word from the Greek, since, well, without those crazy Greeks and their wacky gods, the Romans wouldn’t have had anything to steal, and we wouldn’t have named our planets after the Roman versions of Greek deities. Pluto, of course, was Hades to the Greeks.