Who uses it: Lawyers
What it means: Short for non compos mentis, not of sound mind; suffering a mental impairment (due to age, illness, injury, substance abuse or some other reason) that renders someone incapable of making his own decisions.
How you can use it: On any crazy day.
In Freeport this morning, hanging out with the Lechners before Jen and Steve leave for Ethiopia. I will have Grace for four days while they're gone -- the Bragdons, Grace's grandmother and I are sharing child care duties -- and am planning a full slate of activities, including the Desert of Maine, Old Orchard Beach, and the Topsham Fair.
The Topsham Fair has a pig scramble for five-year-olds... but Grace's mother says she cannot bring a pig home, and what's the point of a pig scramble if you don't get to keep the pig? Jen has also said that I cannot buy Grace a puppy or give her Barbies punk-rock makeovers. Sheesh.
One of my neighbors said to me a month or two ago, "You don't really like small children, do you?" This comment seemed to come from nowhere; I might have been saying something critical about another neighbor's decision to buy his four-year-old a fully-functional miniature motorbike, but that was not because I don't want this four-year-old to have any fun.
Anyway, there's no good response to a comment like that, which I can't help but hear as, "You're a cranky bitch, aren't you?" Anything I'd say would just sound feeble and defensive, or even sinister; I'm a single woman of a certain age who lives alone, and I'm moving quickly into Weird Old Lady territory.
But the truth is that I'd much rather have a conversation with the average five-year-old than with the average 40-year-old. Five-year-olds are engaged, curious, fairly ego-free, and not usually anxious; they like stories, novelty, bright colors, weird noises, and pretty things.
Not like small children? I am a small child. I just have a driver's license.