Wednesday, August 26, 2015

LMJ Word-of-the-Week: Manqué

Manqué: (mäNGˈkā/) - having failed to accomplish up to one's potential. Unfulfilled.

My 10th grade English teacher explained to the class the expression 'le mot juste'.  LMJ is the perfect word for the occasion, whatever that occasion is.  Doesn't it happen to you?  The perfect word is right on the tip of the tongue, and you can't think of it?  And no other word will do?


One of my family's games when I was growing up was a dictionary game.  One person got the dictionary, and chose an abstruse word.  Everybody wrote their definition.  We then voted on the definitions.  Vote right, you got a point.  Vote wrong, and the author of the definition got two points.

Nobody ever picked a word that Dad didn't know.  Not once.

But once a week I will try to stump Dad. 

For one blog every week I will try to put up a stumper word. Something that I have run across, and find interesting or useful, but will only be appropriate in a very specific occasion. I will give you the LMJ of the Week.

This week, the word is manqué.

I am an academic manqué.  Becoming a professor of archaeology was the dream - it was the focus of my career, my education, my training, my research, and my reading.  I prepared.  I studied.  I did fieldwork, and hobnobbed with famous archaeologists.  I apprenticed myself to several of them over time, learning the mysteries of the arcane.  I presented papers at conferences, and wrote book reviews for journals.  I taught classes, and applied for grants. 

I even had a plan - I was going to find three young Maya researchers - a linguist, a cultural anthropologist, and a physical anthropologist - and we were going to promote ourselves as a complete department that a small college could get for cheap.  We were going to market ourselves as young, hungry researchers who would become world-class scholars in a few short years.  It was going to work. 

But at the end of my research, I could not write up the results to satisfy my committee.

Some of it was the topic.  But a lot of it was me.  I was working full time on an unrelated career.  I struggled with the statistics, and I had a hard time asking for help.  I did not like my topic, and the results were inconclusive in one approach after another.

Ultimately, I was let go.

I had such potential.  But I lacked the 'fire in the belly' that would put me over the hump.  I ended up an academic manqué.

Manqué. Your LMJ for the day. 



aunt Patty said...

Not an acceptable conclusion or appropriate use of the word. I believe very strongly God was refining your gold and has something else in mind for you. All in His timing. Hard to wait. But I believe you are so in His hands.

Crorey Lawton said...

I absolutely agree that God's plan is different from what I was doing. My point was that I would have been a fantastic professor. But that potential was not realized. So my job now is to be a better PM. A better husband. A better Christian. A better friend. These are all areas where I cannot afford to leave 'potential' on the table. Archaeology professor? Manque describes it pretty well, I think.