New word of the Day: Lethologica

What’s that phenomenon for when you know something, you know you know it, but the harder you reach for it, the slipperier it gets? Like the red balloon being chased by a toddler, it skitters away again and again as it’s reached for, maddening close but never close enough, repulsed by chubby grasping fingers and clumsy feet that always beat fingers to their goal.


Stupid balloons.


Blame it on middle age, blame it on lack of sleep, or blame it on the pot you smoked in college, when there’s a word you comprehend but cannot apprehend, or a dream you remember but cannot recall, or a thought that is kicked away by clumsy churlish feet every time you grasp for it, you are experiencing lethologica. But don’t worry. It doesn’t appear to be lethal.

Lethologica comes from the Greek words Lethe and logikos. Lethe (lee thee)—the river of unmindfulness—is one of the five rivers in Hades. Legend has it that only by drinking from this river and forgetting their past lives can the spirits of the dead be brought back to new life. Logikos (log gee cŏs), as near as I can tell, is a Greek word meaning word or pertaining to speech, speaking, reason, or logic. So lethologica literally means I have either forgotten a word, what I was saying, to whom I was speaking, my reason for speaking, or the logic behind my thought. Or perhaps all of these as is quite often the case. I seem to have been sipping from the river as of late. If forgetfulness is a requirement for… oh, what’s that word when you come back in a different body? Incantation? Carnation? Anyway, I should be quite close. Or am I? I don’t remember what I was looking for.

And before you ask, no. They do not bottle water from the Lethe River and stamp it Miller, Budweiser, Grey Goose, or Jack Daniels. If you think so, you’re about twelve steps into the river, have lost your damn mind, and are walking straight into Hades. Call your sponsor.


Where was I?


Ah yes, forgetfulness.


So, you may be asking, how do we pronounce this new word? Well, I will tell you even though it’s a waste of time. You’ll just forget. And anyway, I’m not quite sure. Based on the pronunciation of the two root words, it should be close to LĒTH ō LŎ gee kă or LĒTH ō LŎG gee kă but one could also pronounce it
LĒTH ō LŎJ-ik ă which is phonetically closer. No matter.

The next time you are floundering after a word or thought, you will remember that there is a word, a noun in fact, that puts a name to your current state of mind and you will remember something about a river and a balloon, but try as you might, you will remember neither the word nor the pronunciation. All this brain work will make you thirsty and you will take another sip from that damnable river that started it all in the first place. You will at first panic, and then panic will be replaced by annoyance. You will run faster and reach further, touching that red balloon that bounces and teases as it is kicked just a bit farther than your fingertips—or the tip of your tongue as the case may be—can reach. If you are like me, this will begin to frustrate you and drive you a bit nutty.

You will feel old and tired, stupid and sweaty from all that running and you will drink more. You will begin to get very, very annoyed with a body that seems to no longer be in sync with itself. And you know why? Because you will remember the adjective that describes your current state of frustration, anguish, and obsession over trying to recall that forgotten word or thought.


It’s loganamnosis (LAHG an um NOH sis).


You will remember this because written on sign decorated in red balloons on the bank of the river Lethe is a sign posted by the SGoH himself.




According to the Surgeon General of Hades, (1) non-spirits should not drink spirits or beverages from this river during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects arrived at by forgetting that you are, in fact, pregnant. Besides which, you could come back as a man or a cat and birthing a human as either would be rather… well, unpleasant.

(2) Consumption of Lethe River beverages impairs your ability to drive a car, operate machinery, or converse intelligently with your in-laws. May also cause health problems when you refer to your mother-in-law as “babe” or any other reference she would consider insulting and your spouse would find offensive enough to prompt them to throw your clothes out a front facing, second story window while the neighbors are all in their driveways leaving for work.

(3) Do not drink from this river unless you are already dead and intend to leave the spirit world and reenter a corporeal body. To do so for reasons other than death constitutes fraud and is punishable by coming back as a man married to fourteen women who were all adopted by lesbian couples (that’s twenty-eight mothers-in-law for those of you who have trouble with the math). Or perhaps a pregnant cat.

(4) Drinking the water has been known to cause cancer in laboratory animals and loganamnosis in humans. The symptoms are most prevalent when one is public speaking, conversing in a group in front of one’s boss, or defending one’s self against one’s mother-in-law. We assume no liability for anyone looking stupid.


Oh, and for God’s sake. If you do visit, don’t kick the balloons.



2 responses to “New word of the Day: Lethologica

  1. your writing slays me lol

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