In my senior year of high school, Marvin and I prepared for the ACT and SAT, the upcoming college entrance exams. We played word games to increase, uh, augment, our vocabulary, an important part of the tests. “What ya got for diligent?” I asked Marvin. “Persistent and assiduous,” he answered.

I’ll need tougher words than than that to stump him, I concluded, and searched for unfamiliar words in the newspaper. However, I found nothing sufficiently difficult, uh, arcane, so I turned to the dictionary. I randomly flipped the pages in search of unusual and unfamiliar words, uh, make that bizarre and alien. Words with sexual connotations were a bonus, both demanding (challenging) and stimulating (erotic). My parents, watching me browse through the Webster, nodded approvingly. More evidence of my academic ability, uh. prowess, their faces communicated.

The fruits of my forays into linguistic by-ways were tested on the basketball court during a game at the neighborhood park. “Sesquipedalian,” I shouted at Marvin as he tensed at the foul line for a free shot following a foul. I hoped that a nearly unpronounceable word would stump, uh, baffle him, particularly one that was appropriate for a word-hound. An additional plus, uh, benefit, was the extra mental effort he would need to figure out the word’s meaning. Distracted, his concentration thrown off, the accuracy of his throw, uh, toss, would be affected.

Marvin glared at me. “Is that a real word?”

I nodded.

He gave me a doubtful look, turned towards the basket, bent his knees, brought both arms high over his head, and arched the basketball towards the backboard. Bong. The ball hit the front edge of the rim and bounced off to the side, out of bounds.

Word power in action, I gloated, uh, reveled, silently.

Marvin ran over to guard me after the ball bounced back into play, a quizzical, uh, perplexed, expression on his face.

I knew what he wanted to ask me. “Sesquipedalian means lover of overly long words,” I said before he said anything.

“I know what you should be called,” he snarled, hurling the ball at me. “A wise guy.”

“Better ‘Solomonic.’ Or ‘sagacious,’” I replied with a smile, uh, grin, uh, smirk.