Maggie
questions I realize now that the essence of the ritual — the part that was alive and powerful, like the one true magic word in a mouthful of gibberish — was that phrase. We almost always had champagne, and she almost always came into the office with me afterward for the other thing, but not always. Question 1: What’s the meaning of ‘the one true magic word in a mouthful of gibberish?’ Once, five years or so before she died, she was in Ireland, vacationing with a girlfriend, when I finished a book. I drank the champagne by myself that time, and entered the last line by myself as well (by then I was using a Macintosh which did a billion different things and which I used for only one) and never lost a minute's sleep over it. Question 2: Once, five years or so before she died, she was in Ireland --- In this case, what’s the meaning of ‘once?’ Question 3: What’s the meaning of ‘never lost a minute's sleep over it?’ What’s the meaning of ‘over?’ What does ‘it’ refer to?
Aug 22, 2018 6:29 AM
Answers · 7
In the case of Q1 the reference is to a phrase which was mentioned earlier and which was clearly 'magical', standing out from what was otherwise a lot (mouthful) of nonsense (gibberish). Q2 we often begin telling a story about the past using 'once', or example "Once upon a time, there were three bears", or "Once, I was young and foolish, and I actually ate a worm'. It focuses attention on the specific moment and the uniqueness of the event to be described. Q3.2 'Over' here means 'because of'. To lose sleep over something means to be upset by it. In the case of Q3.3, the female was away in Ireland so she and the author were unable to share two activities: drinking together and entering the last line (presumably the latter means typing the last line of a book). Grammatically 'it' could refer to either of these activities or to the mention of the lady's absence, so it reads as 'I wasn't upset by her absence and its consequences' (Q3.1).
August 22, 2018
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