For a synonym of Friable I’m picking “Fragile” . I can’t hear that word without thinking of an album of that name released by the progressive rock band Yes, in … omg … 1971. It’s got a 50th anniversary coming up. Incredible.

With the rather distressing condition of world events at the moment… with our governments, our societies, our health, our sanity and even our planet in such a friable state, the album’s cover picture reminds me how fragile our entire existence is. Meanwhile, this instrumental song, Mood for a Day reminds me of just how beautiful this opportunity of existence is, and how beautiful we are capable of being. There is a joy to it, and in the three minutes and three seconds that it plays, my mood for the day improves.


There’s that old chestnut of a curse: “May you live in interesting times.” These times are certainly interesting, but I think the word Duplicitous describes a fair bit of what makes them interesting. And I wouldn’t curse anyone with a life lived in duplicitous times.

The manipulative deceit which marks even the most casual-seeming conversation whenever it strays into topics of hyper-partisanship is marring friendships, relationships and family cohesion. It doesn’t take long for this to boil over into anger, even hatred, and the conditions which produce regrettable statements.


Such a bunch of bold and often self-consciously multi-syllabic synonyms for a word entirely devoted to going unnoticed. The time and racket required to put some of these synonyms to voice would put all but the most stealthy spies at risk of discovery, or elimination.

And then there’s Sly. An incision. A silencer. A whisper out of the darkness. A three-letter utterance without even  an anchoring vowel. The word itself is a hiss, a diversion for the covert “y”.