by Tod Wicks

Nearly 25 years ago I was the newsletter editor of an organization in Northern California that numbered some 2500 members.  For a good portion of that time I was able to include stories and articles of general interest to the membership by club members.  However, as more and more activities and events needed space, the more informal items got crowded out.

George Towner, one of the main players in the group's hierarchy - and a wonderful personal friend - was a frequent contributor of first-person accounts of his globetrotting adventures.  One evening while socializing, George floated the notion of publishing a periodical chartered to provide a forum for himself and others that would reach an audience of readers, a forum for expressing opinions or for telling stories.

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While the initial reaction was tepid, George ground ahead with his idea.  He found a few creative folks and was able to assemble enough material for several issues.  He recruited me to be his business manager and general gofer.  I managed to persuade enough good people to pony up $5 for a one year (12 issues) subscription to make it self-sustaining.

The one thing that eluded George was a suitable name for this project. George asked a number of acquaintances to submit their ideas for a name.  We were mulling over a bunch of not-to-clever names that had George just shaking his head.  In jest I piped up and suggested he call it "The Ecphorizer."  You could see a little gleam in George's eyes then as he agreed with gusto that I had hit upon the very name that he was looking for.

OK, so now that I've related this historical vignette, what the blazes is so great about the word "ecphorizer" that had George dancing a jig?  That, as they say, is another story.  But in the interest of keeping the peace around here, I'll dig into that a bit.

First you have to know that George is a pretty brilliant person.  He's had several worlds of experience in many fields.  A pair of his passions is reading and writing.  It is fairly common for serious writers and readers to have their noses stuck in dictionaries.  As many of you well know, it is difficult to simply go look up a word.  Another word catches your eye, then you're guided elsewhere, and soon you're startled to realize that you've spent an hour jumping from one word to the next.

George was thumbing his way through the Supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary when he happened on the word "ecphorize," whose definition graces the The Ecphorizer's Home Page.  As I understand it, George went for years with this word at the tip of his tongue just waiting for a chance to slip it into everyday conversation.

The time came when he was on a committee to review and suggest revisions to the organization's bylaws.  George suggested that under the duties of the Election Committee covered in the bylaws, among other action items, should be the directive " ecphorize candidacy..."  Which meant simply that the Election Committee was to go out and recruit members to run for office.  This revision was accepted by the Bylaws Committee and voted by the group's membership to be among those revisions to be included in the bylaws.

August 2000