GRE Word of the Day: Perfunctory

2010.12.03

Perfunctory means superficial (e.g.  he/she only had a very superficial/topical/perfunctory/general level of understanding of the subject matter). That said, the best way to retain new words is not just to have the definition rattled off to you once. What you need is a unique-thought-sentence or memorable-quirky-cute anecdote illustrating the given word and it’s meaning. That said, allow me to draw your attention to the following (1a) unique-thought-sentence and (1b) corresponding memorable-quirky-cute anecdote. Thank me later, b-words..

(1a) I realized I had only a perfunctory understanding of my own perspective regarding my self-image as a result of my very odd dream wherein I was announced the winner of a beauty pageant.

(1b) Here’s what happened, homies. I was fast asleep dreaming my always-G-rated, sweet lil mare-bear dreams only to find myself having transitioned from a dream taking place in some sub shop (where there was no veggie sub on the menu and the sub-maker refused to just make a veggie sub and charge me for like a meatball sub and so I called him a little jizz-bucket–which I wouldn’t usually do–but that’s neither here nor there) to being in line with a bunch of super-fine-hotties in front of a huge audience (which made me nervous-anxious b/c I’m pretty shy and I started thinking I was sweating which made even me more nervous). Anyhoo, I started looking around and finally got a sense (b/c that’s how dreams work) that I was in some kind of beauty pageant and then I hear an announcer-voice building anticipation through his long-winded remark that the winner of the pageant would now be announced then–he calls my name. At this point, having confirmed in my mind that I was indeed in a beauty pageant and that I had just been announced as a the winner my subconscious-mind-stuff immediately inferred that this had to be a freak’n dream and I immediately woke up. What makes this pretty fun to me (as opposed to sorta sad and pathetic) is juxtaposing this situation to the countless dreams wherein I was doing or seeing all kinds of completely impossible scenarios and my subconscious-mind-stuff did NOT register that the experience I was sensing had to be the result of a dream (like how did I just magically go from sub shop to beauty pageant stage); these scenarios include (but are not limited to): playing chess (which I refuse to do in real life, based on principle) with an alligator (I swear), being asked on a date by Rachel Maddow, greeting my mother (with a huge crowd of patriots all waiting to greet her home) upon her return from some war she had been in for several years (and she was fully geared up in military attire with weapons–whole nine yards), and being hired on by Justin Timberlake to write his speeches (what speeches? how the f*** should I know). And no, my friends, none of those wild ass scenarios sent up any red-flags on my Reality-Check-O-Meter. Honestly though, that’s how dreams are–the part of your mind that makes those rational inferences that certain scenarios are entirely improbable given your social-historical situation and what you know about the world around you is maybe the only part of your mind that is actually asleep and resting when you are. So, to bring this full circle, while I like to believe I have a healthy, feminist-informed understanding of any distorted perceptions of my physical self-image (and that I’ve grown out of my angsty-teenage-disdain for it) this dream made me call into question that taken-for-granted assumption and wonder if my understanding of my perceptual relation to my self-image was only perfunctory in nature, and that perhaps there are still issues that need to be explored and unpacked….and not just the -wah-wah-my-daddy-called-me-fat BS. I  have always been of the opinion that dreams are wonderful resources for self-reflexivity–so this anomalous experience ought not be exempt from analysis, I figure.

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