Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I ran across one of the earliest reviews on this blog, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, and there was the word ubiquitous, smack-dab in the middle of the review.  I like the way ubiquitous rolls off my tongue.  It's a fun word.  It was 2007, the first year I blogged, and this is what I wrote:
"I was surprised this time by what seemed to be missing, things like cell phones and computers which, of course, were not yet the ubiquitous items they are today."
Cell phones were not what was ubiquitous fifty years before I posted that review.  Can you read what the men are saying in this advertising cartoon from 1957?  That's only five years before A Wrinkle in Time was published in 1962.

Here's what the ad says, first from the cartoon, then the script below it:
"Telephones are ubiquitous?"
"Yes, telephones are ubiquitous."
Robert Day, the well-know cartoonist who drew this picture, was a little afraid there might be some people who wouldn't know what we meant by ubiquitous.  "It's a pretty big word," he said.

"Don't worry," we told him.  "We'll just put in a little reminder that the dictionary says ubiquitous means 'existing or being everywhere at the same time.'"

There's surely no better way to describe telephones!  They're not only in millions of homes and offices but just about everywhere you go.  In stores and at gas stations!  At airports, bus depots and railroad stations!  Out-of-doors!

Throughout the country, there are hundreds of thousands of these public telephones for your convenience.

So the next time something comes up when you're away from home or the office, or there's some news you'd like to share with someone, just stop up to one of those nearby telephones and call.

You can save yourself a lot of running around, be a number of places in a few minutes, and get things settled while they are fresh in your mind.

Working together to bring people together . . . BELL TELEPHONE SYSTEM


There's more to the story:  When I wrote and posted this on my Joyful Noiseletter blog on Monday, I clicked PUBLISH at 7:40 a.m., then got ready to go for the 10:15 appointment for my annual eye exam.  I arrived a few minutes early and had to wait, of course, so I  picked up AARP the Magazine.  Flipping through it, I started reading about gluten on page 18 because one of my grandchildren has to eat gluten-free food.  I almost laughed out loud when I came across this sentence:
"Gluten is ubiquitous."
What are the odds?  Three hours after posting my thoughts on a word, I run across it for the second time in one day, in the book review and in a random magazine in the doctor's waiting room.  Coincidences are the spice of life.


Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by BermudaOnion, where readers share words they’ve encountered that are new to them.  I'm going to take a chance that Kathy @ BermudaOnion won't mind that I usually post about words I like.  I've been a reading fanatic for nearly seven decades, so I rarely run across words I haven't encountered before.  In the meantime, I love words and have my word blog to prove it.


Louise said...

Ubiquitous is a fabulous word, it does roll of the tongue so beautifully I agree. And it's so common to run into the same word- I often will find the same word in consecutive books, when I've never seen it before. I love that synchronicity.

bermudaonion said...

Oh what a fun ad! We didn't have a telephone at all when we lived in Bermuda. When we moved to the US in 1961, we had a party line for years before a private line became available. I guess telephones weren't ubiquitous then. Fantastic post today!!

Tea said...

I've read and enjoyed A Wrinkle in Time by L'engle. Was sorry about her death, what, a couple of years ago?? I like your word too. I've heard it. The pronunciation is fun.

Anonymous said...

I love how you write such a thoughtful post on just the one word! Thanks for putting it all into perspective.

Libby Rodriguez said...

That always happens to me! Whenever I am focusing on something, suddenly it is everywhere! Actually it is ubiquitous. Haha!

Beth said...

You know, I have this happen all the time, Bonnie---that is, encountering a fairly unusual word that I rarely see, then seeing it again the same day. Funny how that happens.

I also like the word ubiquitous. I actually use it all the time. I guess you could say it is ubiquitous in my conversation.:-)

Margot said...

Excellent Wondrous Words post. I love the ad! Ubiquitous is one of those words I see and sort of know, but It's not really a part of my vocabulary.

Bookfool said...

LOL I love this! Also, it makes me want to rush to my shelves to grab my copy of A Wrinkle in Time. I'll have to keep rereading that soon in the back of my mind, though. Too many other books are already piled by my bedside, waiting in line. Thanks for the smiles, Bonnie!

Wendy said...

I thought it was interesting that you started the post with Wrinkle because as a child, I first learned the word ubiquitous from L'Engle's Meet the Austins.