There's a word I thought I'd never have the occasion to look up. But I came across this in the L.A. Times this morning:
President Bush sounded a hopeful note Friday when he called for as much as $150
billion in tax rebates to goose the economy back into gear.
I was reminded of watching an episode of WKRP in Cincinnati when I was a kid. I was frustrated because I didn't understand why the audience laughed so hard when Herb said he was going to give Jennifer "her Christmas goose."
So when I encountered the newspaper article, I realized that even my sitcom-based grasp of the word was insufficient. I opened Webster's New World College Dictionary:
(Skipping to the verb definitions): 1. to prod suddenly and playfully in
the backside so as to startle. 2. to feed gasoline to (an engine) in irregular
spurts. 3. to prod, or stir, into action.
Often, I have to force myself to read the news. My attention is all-too-easily lured away by any word or wording I find interesting, any notable punctuation issue, any language issue that I naturally find more interesting than lame attempts to tweak the economy. And that's on a good day. But on days like today, when suddenly I'm swimming in images of the president "goosing" the economy -- well, just don't quiz me on today's headlines.