It’s a word that’s been on my mind lately. Everywhere you look, things seem precarious: flip on the world, national or even local news…yikes! Precarious. Friends and family with scary health circumstances….precarious. Financial needs vs checkbook balance…precarious. Suddenly, life feels uncertain. Risky. Perilous. Insecure. Dangerous.
So being a writer and a word nerd, I did an etymology study of the word precarious and it was pretty eye opening:
Precarious is a legal word meaning, “held through the favor of another,” from Latin precarius “obtained by asking, praying or mere favor,” from prex “entreaty, prayer.”
The notion of “dependent on the will of another” led to the extended sense of, “risky, dangerous, uncertain.”
The storm had been brewing all day but we hadn’t paid attention; it was Labor Day weekend and the family had gathered for a barbecue. We rented a movie for the kids, Roger threw the burgers on the grill, and the downpour started. I held the umbrella so he could finish cooking.
After we dried off, we ate and settled down to watch the movie. Fifteen minutes into it, the rain turned into a deluge, lightning cracked too close and we lost the cable. Another crash and we were in the dark. I had candles, but that flickering light did little to comfort my 16-year-old granddaughter who was lost without a connected internet. The withdrawal was painful to watch.
The darkness was a novelty for the little ones. I suggested we play a word game (imagine that) and we took turns thinking of really cool words.
“Obstreperous!” I chimed out, when it was my turn. They were good sports for about five minutes until we all decided what we really needed was dessert if we were to weather the storm for much longer. Alas, grandma’s cupboard was bare.