Never Say Etcetera
Lacey Martinez

Consider this list: guava, banana, papaya, etc.

You found it in your purse, scrawled on a scrap of paper in blue ink, in a handwriting that is not your own. Where did it come from? What does it mean? Is it a grocery list? A list of nouns that just happen to be edible ovaries of seed-bearing plants? Words that end in A? Maybe it’s a list of flavors of ice cream, or flavors of condoms? A list of first names of forgotten cartoon characters, or last names of hungry up-and-coming porn stars? Is kiwi on the list? Tomato? Etcetera is supposed to suggest continuation, but it’s distracting and confusing. Almost as bad as ellipses...

Throw the scrap of paper away.

Consider this list: kumquat, pinprick, chainsaw, cancerous, peanut, hummus, ponytail, tampon, bubblegum, electron, lava, planet, regret.

The list goes on.

Elevator, disappointment, shopping. Fellatio, pineapple, hope. Avocado, entropy.

The list is endless.

Torture, lettuce, testicle. Eczema, algebra, etc.

Etcetera is a scapegoat, a martyr. Upon this lonely word must fall the whole packed weight of an end.

Lacey Martinez lives in New York City.

To link to this story directly:

Detail of photo on main page courtesy of Dermot Reeve.

w i g · l e a F               02-18-11                                [home]