Posted by: nazli | February 13, 2008


I used to think that touché was in reference to someone being “touchy” about a comment. Actually it means “well done, old chap, bravo, good for you, that was a witty come back.” Well something like that. The word stem is the French verb, “toucher”, to touch, and is used in fencing to acknowledge when one has been hit or touched.

Talking of old chaps, I am reminded of one of my most favorite fictional characters, Reginald
Jeeves, by P.G. Wodehouse. Jeeves, a gentleman’s gentleman, is a title character of the likes of “Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves” and “Well Done, Jeeves”, amongst many other thoroughly charming books. In fact, the name of the search engine “Ask Jeeves”, is inspired by the original Jeeves. And in the midst of a heavy semester, across an ocean from Totleigh Towers in Berkshire, I can still dive into a Jeeves book and laugh in guiltless delight. And truly the world does seem lighter.

We watched “Atonement” this weekend. It was fine, but expectedly, the book is richer in words, feelings, and alignment of characters. We also watched “Meet the Spartans” last week and there is nothing to which to compare this movie.

English is not my first language – as I conveniently remind people when I am at a literary loss, literally – but it is the language which allows me to express the thoughts within me. It is in expressing thoughts, especially the ones deep within, that we are able to understand ourselves, to form ideas, and expand the horizon of our perspectives.

“Oh jolly good,” Jeeves might say, “if I may express myself, perhaps you should expand your horizons by resuming your work day.”
“Touché. Yes indeed, rather, my good man. Hand me my hat would you? Thank you.”

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