Dearest Rachel –

I know that you can’t be expected to know about all the books in my library, any more than I could about yours (until Jan and I had to go through it all, and decide what I was likely to read or not and treat accordingly). However, you might recall that I’ve long held a fascination toward slang words and phrases – I had several volumes of the stuff from even before we met. But there was one in particular I enjoyed perusing; it was one of those used-bookstore acquisitions, where I paid half the cover price for it, even discounting the fact that the cover price was listed in pounds sterling rather than in Yankee dollars.

It was a dictionary – as large and as thick as a real-life one, in fact – of terms supposedly in common parlance among the chav population of England, as compiled by a men’s magazine from that side of the pond. The magazine referred to this collection as their ‘profanisaurus,’ suggesting that most of the terms listed within were not to be uttered should the parish vicar pop around for a spot of tea, or even a nip of sherry. This was, as you might expect, because most slang – no matter which side of the pond you hail from – describes (and euphemizes) various unsavory activities, particularly pertaining to sex and booze, and the use (or overuse) of either, and many of the subsequent results.

But occasionally, the tome contained invented vocabulary that positively exuded genius in their creation. Such is the word that I’ve put up as the title of this letter: brillain’t. On first glance, it leaves the reader wondering, “Hey, old chap, I believe you’ve transposed a letter or two; don’t you mean brilliant? And, what’s all this then with that adjective?” But no, you’re describing a course of action that is decidedly the opposite of brilliant; but rather than call someone a fool to his face in so many words, you can simply tell him what a brill-ain’t move he just made, and leave it at that.

Such was my latest trip from the hotel to the convention center. I’d left behind the backpack and all the swag therein. About halfway there, it occurred to me that I’d brought my cup from home (that I had gotten in last year’s swag bag) that I could have used in the dealers’ room to get myself a cold fizzy beverage from the soft drink vendor that had returned to the convention this year. Eh, I thought, it wasn’t worth the trip back – there will be other days, after all – and pressed on. However, once I got to the door of the convention hall, I saw a few others hanging out and noticed they all had something that I didn’t…

That’s right, I left my badge back at the hotel room, and would have to make the trip back (from that much further along) after all. There’s just one word for that sort of thing, especially given how far and how hot the walk is – brill-ain’t.

At least I’m getting my steps in today.

And it isn’t as if this sort of thing is exclusive to me (well, of course it isn’t, because the word was coined half a world away. People make stupid mistakes no matter where they are); as I was returning to the convention center with my badge – and the tin cup, because why not? – the girl at the sponsor registration booth waved me over.

I actually thought she was going to give me my change back – I had given her $160 in twenties, because that’s the only denomination I had, when the fee was only $150 – and was going to wave her off. I had tried to register at the door, after all – let them consider the extra $10 a late fee. But no; apparently, the registration from 2021 rolled over (which didn’t make sense, as I was here last year. Maybe it was 2020? But I don’t recall even registering for that, because it didn’t look like the lockdowns would lift in time – and, of course, they didn’t), and by paying this morning, I had waaay overpaid, according to her.

Admittedly, I don’t know whose brillain’t mistake this was – mine for having paid twice, or the convention, for thinking I had when I haven’t. But there’s a screw-up behind here somewhere.

I guess that just means more to hand out to artists for additional commissions of you. Hope you don’t mind too much.

Anyway, I’ll talk to you later; for now, just keep an eye out for me. Love you, honey.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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