I like playing with words when my brain slows down long enough, or when it’s not bogged down in the shit of day-to-day existence.  Or sometimes when I’m too tired and it just comes to me without my wanting it.  Like an earwurm or an awareness of my elbow.  You know what I’m talking about.  Charles Schultz knew what I was talking about before I even knew about it, in fact before I was born.  Consider the following published February 3, 1963:

I play with words, take them apart, put them back together, think about other words with the same or similar construction, if you do it you know what I mean.  I’m aware of


Inspiration.  Perspiration.  Expiration.  Aspriation. Respiration.  Got any?

Just to get it out of the way, “aspiration” means breathing, it means inhaling in the process of respiration, or it means exhaling making a sound.  When you die from inhaling something you’re not supposed to, you die by “aspirating on” whatever it was. Anyway, if aspiration can be from breathing in OR breathing out, why do we have “respiration?” which is the process of alternating inhalation and exhalation.  (halation, another word to rabbit trail, not going to do that today)  *GROSSNESS ALERT* skip over the next part if you’re any bit squeamish*  Rock stars are famous for dying by aspirating on alcohol induced vomit.

Did you skip it?  Good.

Perspiration, you all know, is sweat.  When I was a kid the women around me used to talk about how “men sweat, boys perspire, and ladies merely glow.”  Yeah, bull shit.  Women sweat.  But it built on the whole feminine mystique thing I grew up under.  When your skin exhales, it either releases the sweat or something really icky. I don’t want to know what the -piration word is for zit expulsion. Thank you, no thank you.

Now we get to why I wanted to write.  It seems to me that Inspiration is the opposite of Expiration.  From,

inspiration (n.) Look up inspiration at Dictionary.comc. 1300, “immediate influence of God or a god,” especially that under which the holy books were written, from Old French inspiracion “inhaling, breathing in; inspiration” (13c.), from Late Latin inspirationem (nominative inspiratio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin inspirare “blow into, breathe upon,” figuratively “inspire, excite, inflame,” from in- “in” (see in- (2)) + spirare “to breathe” (see spirit (n.)).

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. [Gen. ii.7]

The sense evolution seems to be from “breathe into” to “infuse animation or influence,” thus “affect, rouse, guide or control,” especially by divine influence.Inspire (v.) in Middle English also was used to mean “breath or put life or spirit into the human body; impart reason to a human soul.” Literal sense “act of inhaling” attested in English from 1560s. Meaning “one who inspires others” is attested by 1867.


Holy shit, another word that means “breathe in,” except it’s literally holy!  Someone tell me again, why does Mrs. M assert I have too much time on my hands?  Shut the hell up!

When you expire, it’s the end, you get thrown out.  When a food product expires, you throw it out.  When you’re inspired, it’s the beginning. And then you work until you expire, trying to do whatever you were inspired to do

I feel like I’ve outlived my shelf life.  Anyone?  I wish I could inspire others, and maybe I do, but nobody tells me shit.  Maybe they’d feel like they were confessing.  I’d make one really fucked up priest.  Don’t be telling me about your shit, OK?   I have enough of my own shit to confess.

But how could I hope to inspire others when I’m so uninspired myself?  I’ve been broken on the rack that is human existence.  My dreams are not coming true, I can’t re-dream anything, or at least I haven’t re-dreamed because the last set of dreams went to shit. I tried, I really did.  And then life happened instead.

Fuck that.  I hate when things fall apart and when dreams don’t come true.  I want to be expired, if it’s the opposite of inspired, if being inspired means I have to work to make something happen.  Every time I do that, the mudslide (for FUCKs SAKE, PLEASE don’t tell me it’s not mud!!!) comes and either buries me or shoves me farther away from achieving the dream than I was when I dreamed it.

Let me be expired. (But I don’t mean “dead.”)

Before I expire, here’s my favorite earworm, and possibly my favorite inspiration, second only to Mrs. M’s aspiration (exhaling while making a sound).

2 thoughts on “Inspiration

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