V is for Veritable Quandary

When thinking of a post that starts with v, the most obvious choices would be vacation or victory. I haven’t had either in quite a while, so I had to dig deeper– way back, in fact, to my college days. I went to school in Ames, Iowa, and long about my junior year, a new restaurant opened, named a Veritable Quandary.

Back in those days, I liked the sound of words but didn’t do much about figuring out what they meant. I wasn’t well read enough to glean the meaning of the two words. I went about my business of getting a dual degree and eventually ate a meal there. It wasn’t until years later that I found out the meaning of veritable quandary.  Oh, then it made so much sense.

Nowadays, it is so easy to find out what anything means. You just Google it. There was no Google back in my college days. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one that liked the way Veritable Quandary rolled off the tongue but had no idea what it meant. When I research or gather words for a story these days, it’s as simple as opening one window for the manuscript, a second window for Google Translate, a third window for Rhyming Spanish words, and a fourth window for whatever else. I no longer drag out my five Spanish dictionaries (well, sometimes). I have learned to check and double check things after two errors over twenty-nine books. You have to know how reliable your sources are:

Wikipedia – usually

Google Translate – sometimes (just ask Jimmy Fallon)

Spanish Rimario – yes

Random websites – mostly never

When the internet is down or you are too cheap to pay for it, there’s always Starbucks or a local coffee place.  When I think of all those trips to the university library, coming home at midnight, where I assembled the reference books in my carrel, got out my note cards, and then promptly fell asleep, I shudder. Now college kids can sit anywhere and research anything, but their necks are going to be a chiropractor’s dream in about twenty years.

And don’t get me started with term papers. We had to TYPE them on TYPEWRITERS and could only have one corrected error per page (remember White Out?). How many times did I have to retype a page because I was such a sloppy typist? Oh, the drudgery of it all. Maybe if I hadn’t had to do that, I could have had time to look up the meaning of veritable quandary.

I still think getting a degree back in the day may have been easier than now, where students have an infinity of distractions. So many cable channels, streaming choices, and music-listening sites. For music, we went down to the Cave Inn on weeknights, drank 35 cent beers and sang along to California Girls by the Beach Boys at the top of our lungs.

Good times.  A nice outing was taking a trip to Tarjzhey, the French way to say Target. Or Targhetto, depending on which one you went to.  When my allowance was $5.00 a week, I often had to pick between toothpaste or beer. Sloe Gin Fizzes were completely out of reach.

Veritable means real or genuine. Quandary means a state of perplexity or uncertainty. I didn’t know that at the time (some English grad student probably named it), but the food at that restaurant was good.

Anything beat the slop we were served in the sorority.



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