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Pernicious Perspicacity

by Gini Cunningham

posted in Relationships

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I have always enjoyed the sound of the word pernicious. It resonates softly, gently, and in a way it is lulling. It is one word whose sound definitely does not reflect its meaning. Pernicious has synonyms that include destructive, evil, malevolent, wicked, spiteful, fatal, and ruinous. None of those terms are soft or gentle. They are all cruel and harmful behaviors. Although this word rarely pops into my conversation and writing, it is a very interesting combination of vowels and consonants and ringing ripe with meaning.
In looking for a word to accompany my title I chose perspicacity. Again it starts out soft and gentle and then revolts into action. The action is neither roaring or pounding, but rather shrewd and clever. Those words also reflect the meaning. Combined into a phrase the words become rhythmic with n odd sort of rhyme. As a team they indicate the clear-sighted, determined and discerning attack on something with fatal and insidious intentions. They draw the reader in as she wonders about the combination and he thinks about what these two words together might bring. And there is your lesson in word choice for the day. Now on to pernicious perspicacity situations.
A friend is involved in a horrendous breakup. While he and his family thought his ex-girlfriend was quite lovely, when her texts, phone calls, drive-bys elevated to threats and rampages, he knew change was necessary. Her eruptions were dangerous and detrimental to everyone in sight. But because she brims with pernicious perspicacity her movements were stealthy. On the outside and to others she was sweet and smiling, worrying and appearing to care deeply about others, especially her children. At other times, with my friend, she transformed into a mean, vindictive individual. She'd ask for money, and when given some would ask for more. She'd promise to leave him alone, and then text 600 times a day, with each escalating in fury. She'd declare, "This is the end!" but it would only be the beginning of more hate and vengeance. She loved to play her children (from a previous affair) in the middle, "What will happen to Jill and Joe if you abandon me?"
And then, as you may have guessed, she stated that she was pregnant. From one dilemma to another, this one involving a third individual. She reiterated that she did not want a baby, but then used the unborn to demand more and more and more. Since the relationship between the two is just a relationship, not legal, my friend has no rights to medical information. Is she really expecting? Has she really contacted an abortion clinic? Will she have the baby, and if so, how does my friend gain total, legal custody? This situation forced me to take on an entirely different view of breakups and pregnancies, especially for men. Men suddenly have very few rights. Basically, according to my lawyer, they can only nod and agree, especially if they want custody and even when they fear for themselves, their families, and the health of the child.
I failed to mention that the ex- also has a concealed weapon permit. Doesn't that add a bit of insight add trepidation to the story? Pernicious perspicacity are two words, chosen at random because of their sound and strung together for their resonance that creates a picture of deceitful disaster. That defines the scenario described. So did I choose those terms randomly, or did my brain, in the powerful and sharp way of action, choose those words for me, to help me clarify the situation and understand the possible decisions? What drove me in anguish and concern to select these?
And that brings us to the power of writing. When you let your mind go, your fingers set forth tapping out messages hidden deeply within you subconscious. When the writer hesitates that tiny break can force the disappearance of brilliance. Writers, set aside your secluded writing time each day, a period when no phone may ring, no spouse or child may bleat, and no dinner bell can ding. When you practice this you may just find yourself in a writing zone where dazzling phrases dash across the screen with ease as your mind sends signals of intensity and inspiration. Remember, this moment is for writing production only. Save editing and production until another day. Editing may easily stall creativity and many tremendous thoughts and ideas may vanish.
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