I’m not sure if I’ve ever told this story. It’s embarrassing. I’m not sure if it should be, but it’s embarrassing. When I was in undergrad, in a class I was undoubtedly getting an A in—I got an A in all my “real” classes, real being history and writing—I came across a word usage I wasn’t familiar with. Salient. Describe the salient details of something or other. I can’t remember if it was British history or Middle East. I knew the word “salient,” of course. It’s a military term. I’d just never learned the adjective usage. I wonder if it ended up being the blue book I got an A+ on. It might’ve been, but I still had to go up to the professor and ask what the word meant. No, I don’t think I’ve ever told the story. I would’ve come up with some variation of Sherlock Holmes’s brain attic, only saying I didn’t bother remembering adjectives.

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