This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Thing To Be Today: a pivot.

Changing direction is no problem if there's just the one of you (unless there's some idiot's wheeled suitcase just below your eye-line all ready to trip you up) but what if there are thirty?

Then, as armies and chorus girls have known for generations, you need someone to be a pivot. This is the person who stays on the spot while everyone else moves round them.

If you're a chorus girl you have to smile while you're going it:

File:Chorus line the Soubrettes at the Cremorne Theatre, South Brisbane ca 1944 (7946599326).jpg
Soubrettes at the Cremorne Theare, Brisbane, ca 1944.

 but in the military not so much:

File:Coldstream Guards by W.B. Wollen.jpg
painting by W B Wollen

...actually, in the military not at all.

(Hey, could we have one of those life-swap TV programmes where chorus girls and the Coldstream Guards do each other's displays? I wouldn't insist on the Guards wearing stilettos to do it.)

But being pivotal needn't involve any physical movement at all. It may be that some cunning wheeze such as digging up a road junction in the rush hour requires action from a host of experts and idiots (two categories not mutually exclusive) and someone is required to make sure no one goes off at a mad angle and wrecks the whole delicate operation. 

Yes, the pivot will be the essential bossy one who does hardly any work at all himself.

Well, I didn't say it was going to be easy or popular, did I?

Thing To Be Today: a pivot. This word might be something to do with the Old Provençal word pua, which means a tooth of a comb.

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