Last week I wrote about the sense of profound relief felt by so many of us as the US government puts itself back on a more rational track. Since then, I’ve experienced the strange phenomenon of not feeling an urgent need to check the news (or social media) every few minutes in case something crazy had happened. The cognitive load required by four years of instability and unpredictability has become evident, and now many of us must each consider what to do with that excess time and energy.
Obviously, much of it should go into continuing to stay safe during the ongoing pandemic, particularly at a time where patience seems to have run out for so many. Anything left over, I’ve decided to devote to things that bring me joy, such as language and the natural world, or in this case, the intersection of the two.
Below, a fun overview of the biology of octopuses, or octopi. Or should that be “octopodes”? Here, the challenge: Is the right plural form the one that follows Latin, English, or Greek (as “octopus” is originally a Greek word)? The folks at Merriam Webster offer some thoughts on the subject, including the rule of thumb that, “if English gets the opportunity to trip you up, it will.”