excurse

I mean, yes, there are things that occur, maybe I should say excur – because, you know, they go too far, and you kind of run out of options so you run out, sometimes literally – but they come around and so you go around, and no, that’s no excuse (this is like the time I actually cursed in front of my mother, or that other time, there may even have been three, but you know, sometimes life can be very frustrating and even excruciating), but between ingress and egress, between congress and regress, sometimes you digress, you go on an excursion, maybe literal – life’s little epicycles, day trips or vacations or mere detours on the transit or the highway, like the time not so long ago we found the road closed due to blowing snow so we had to go 20 minutes west and then down that road and back east on another, not as thrilling as, say, a trip to Italy – or maybe figurative, a digression in a sentence or in the career of a life or the life of a career (I will spare you an excursus, but I must wonder: if one works a job for 18 years and then moves on, was the job an excursion, a long dream, or is the move an excursion, or is it all an excursion, the inexorable epicycle from earth to earth that we cruise on this earth), and then in the end you come back to the end.

But I excurse.

Excurse? Excur? Excursus? They all come from Latin ex ‘out’ + currere ‘run’. To excurse is to make an excursion, a digression, either in discourse or in some other course. To excur is to go beyond or outside of the ordinary course. An excursus is a digression so great it can’t decently be fit into a footnote (do you hear that, Immanuel Kant? there is such a thing!) and so it goes into an appendix. Excursus looks to me like a horse-race of a word. Excur looks like a decent counterpart to occur and I rather think it could be used more. But excurse carries images of excuse and curse and so bears a contrariety to it that can really get you thinking about other things before coming back to the sense. If you ever do.

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