Nothing is more annoying than being correctly judged, even in a small way.
A broad or inexact hatchet thrown at one’s defects often just-misses the target, but a tiny arrow of truth, aimed and fired at precisely the most tender spot within the conscience, can devastate. It is as discomfiting as a poppy seed caught in one’s bridgework. You can try to ignore it, but you know its there, and you also know if you don’t address it — if you let the thing remain trapped and hidden beneath the structure — things are only going to get rubbed raw, and then become infected. And then it’s hours in the dentist chair, and a ruinous cost.
The Romans had a saying — Jeeves often applied it to Bertie Wooster when the self-described boulevardier had a minor epiphany — rem acu tetigisti.
“Precisely, sir. Rem acu tetigisti.”
“Acu tetigisti, sir. A Latin expression. Literally it means ‘You have touched the matter with a needle,’ but a more idiomatic rendering would be – ”
“Put my finger on the nub?”
“Yes, I get it now…
– Jeeves in the Morning
Rem acu tetigisti; you touch the point with a needle and it stings. Apply that needle point of truth to the conscience and the whole damned day gets unsettled until you can do something about it — begin to address it, make your damned amends.
My husband had a rem acu tetigisti moment, today. Shot that arrow my way and it got lodged pretty good. Touched on a matter with a needle and I howled and buzzed foul.
I naturally had to throw a less exacting hatchet of broad truth his way, because it’s what I do, and the way I am.
Lent. Bah. Poppy seeds and bridgework and needles and truth.
Spring cleaning is always arduous, and some damned delicate thing always ends up needing to be handled with extra care, some sore spot always needs to be checked for infection.
Bah, again, says I. As I get to work.
Combox is still closed. For Lent.