Over the weekend, I finished Jim Harrison’s The English Major. It’s not a long book, but it took me a long time to read, mostly because I never really connected with the larger story or characters in the aging-guy-hits-the-road-in-search-of-self tale. Even so, I kept coming back for Harrison’s muscular, hilarious prose.

Consider this line from Page 235, uttered by the narrator, Cliff:

We said a polite hello and she bought her mother a Jack Daniel’s and coke, an inscrutable drink.

That just slayed me. A wonderful adjective, inscrutable.

For your edification, from Merriam-Webster online:

Main Entry: in·scru·ta·ble
Pronunciation: \in-ˈskrü-tə-bəl\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Late Latin inscrutabilis, from Latin in- + scrutari to search — more at scrutiny
Date: 15th century

: not readily investigated, interpreted, or understood : mysterious <an inscrutable smile> <inscrutable motives>

in·scru·ta·bil·i·ty \-ˌskrü-tə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun

in·scru·ta·ble·ness \-ˈskrü-tə-bəl-nəs\ noun

in·scru·ta·bly \-blē\ adverb

Nothing mysterious about Jack and Cokes, my good man. They taste good, and they deliver a responsible measure of the desired buzz, provided they’re enjoyed in moderation. I had one Friday night, and I believe I’ll have another soon.

Cheers!

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