A long time ago – maybe 20 years or so – my father called me at work one morning and asked, “do you read the comics?” “Yes, why?”
him: did you see Zippy the Pinhead?
me: (laughing) yes…
him: well, can you explain it to me? Your mother can’t stop laughing and I don’t get it.
me: Pop, there’s nothing to “get”. Either you find it funny or you don’t.
The strip was three panels of Zippy walking around saying nothing but “Boutros Boutros-Ghali”.
Do you ever get a song stuck in your head? Some of us also get a word or phrase (or name) stuck. So it was with Zippy that morning. So it was when my friend Linda introduced me to the phrase “circinate vernation”. Circinate means rolled up, with the tip in the center. Vernation is the arrangement of leaves in a bud, or the formation of new leaves or fronds. So if you’re that type of person, next time you see a fiddlehead maybe you, too, will exclaim “ooh! circinate vernation!”