Fri, 27 Aug 1999
Dear Mister Wonderful,
My high school biology teacher once told us to keep a look out for words that have the root "-lysis" in them, "lysis" meaning to break into pieces. Thus hydrolysis, the digestive process where water breaks things down; even analysis could be seen as a manner of breaking ideas down.
Keeping this maxim in mind, does that mean that Lysol can split the Sun into little pieces?
Dear Dick Shennary,
Drink enough of it and everything goes to pieces.
But seriously, kids, don't do drugs. None. No caffeine, no aspirin, no Prozac, no anesthesia. Nothing that effects your mind or body in any way. Vitamins are out. So is salt. Proteins, carbohydrates, nix, nix! Growth is dangerous. So is change. Why do you think it's the Food and Drug Administration? Different words for the same thing! Sadly, 100% of American children are addicted to food at birth, a condition passed on from their mothers, who ate while they were pregnant. Food may give a temporary illusion of well-being, but the crash is cruel and swift. Don't get any strength, kids! Don't explore your possibilities! Stagnate! Atrophy!
What was your query about? Oh yeah, words. Funny thing is, hydro-lysis (water-loosening) and electro-lysis (um, electro-loosening) mean to use water and electricity to break other things. So lys-ol is - hey, wow...actually a clever advertising gimmick implying "loosens all".
I was going to go in a totally different direction, but this is interesting. Apparently, the ancient marketers who named Lysol thought the public would be clever enough to get the Greek root and the English homophone. What suckers. It also means that my little joke above is etymologically sound: Lys-All = Everything goes to pieces. I'm so cool.
I, uh, need to take a nap.