Among the many lessons I learned from Dr. Jandoli was the awesome power of words. Just words. When properly employed, words help us to contemplate the human experience in all its complex wonder. When carelessly used, they wound, distract, and do grievous harm to the community.

In these fractious times, when the President of the United States – again: the President of the United States – tweets words to mock and malign others, effectively in the name of this great country, I think of Dr. Jandoli. I see him now, marking up another of my papers. Crossing out the lesser word. Replacing it with a better word. Teaching me to use each word as though it were a stick of dynamite. That is, with utmost care.

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