Wandering through the Thesaurus recently (as one does), I came across persnickety. What a fun word, rolling off my tongue so delightfully.
My mind presented me with the image of a little animal scuttling around, sniffing out that pesky misused apostrophe, tossing out unnecessary commas, tweaking passive sentences …
When my daughter objected to the ‘snobby’ connotations of persnickety, I sort of agreed with her.
But I remembered my enjoyment at listening to The Muddled-headed Wombat* on ABC radio many, many years ago. His very ‘sens-e-bubble’ friend Mouse often had to disentangle him and Tabby Cat from all sorts of interesting adventures. But— she also knew how to enjoy herself on their hair-brained antics.
And I also seem to recall a Missy Mouse that I gave my daughter when she was a toddler: Missy Mouse now resides on her daughter’s toy-shelf.
When I shared my word on Facebook, Tony Harris (author of Wombat Stories) rattled off a list of synonyms— pedantic, fussalacious, fastidious, finicky, pernicious and picnic-y—then wrote this verse for me.
A mouse in the house is fastidious and tidy
A mouse on the run has to be play hidey
From the cats and the possums
they must run away
no time for persnickety
when you’re lunch of the day…
So I’ll continue on my persnickety way, primping, polishing and perfecting your words,
but keeping a close watch for those cats and possums.
I’m sure you’ve come up with your own perception of persnickity.
I’d love you to share, or to tell me your favourite or fun word.
*The Muddled-headed Wombat, Ruth Park, 1962, Educational Press Ltd.