June 2, 2020

About my son Mark, the …………. . The what?

My son, Mark. Relaxing at home after teaching. Mark, the ........  The what?

My son, Mark. Relaxing at home after teaching. Mark, the …….. The what?

By John Guy LaPlante

Know what? I’ve just coined a word that is brand-new to the English language. And badly needed. I’ve checked and checked. I can’t find it in any dictionary. It came to me in a flash. How about that?

I write this from Madison, Wisconsin, where I am visiting my son Mark and his family. He is a professor at the University of Wisconsin here. Important for you to know this. This new word popped up in my mind last night in bed.

“Wow!” I said to myself. “That’s it! It’s perfect!!”

The word? “Financist.”
I know you’re saying, “So…?”

Some background will help you.

All three of my children, Arthur, Monique, and Mark, have doctorates. Arthur and Monique have JDs–doctorates in jurisprudence. Mark has a PhD–a doctorate in philosophy, which is a degree that covers a multitude of professional fields. That’s a problem and you’ll see why.

When someone asks me what my kids do, I say, “Arthur is a lawyer, Monique is a lawyer, and Mark is a professor of finance.”

“Professor of finance” is not as specific as “lawyer.” Don’t you agree?  It’s really clumsy. What I was striving for was something much closer to the mark. Simpler. Easy to remember.

What Mark is is an economist, specializing in finance. That’s quite a mouthful, too. I just felt we needed something better. A single strong word. And it came to me so easily!

I said to myself, “Mike is a financist! Yes, a financist!” This was my wonderful brainstorm.

I know “financist” sounds awfully strange to you. Of course it does. It’s the first time you see it. But you’ll realize the beauty of it right away when I explain.

But careful! Do not confuse my brainstorm with “financier.” He is not a financier. Sure, that is a nice, exact word. But a financier is “a person concerned with the management of large amounts of money for governments or other large organizations.” I pulled that out of a dictionary for you. Mark is not a financier.

He is truly a financist. That’s vastly different. He is an expert in understanding and teaching finance, which is “the study of the monetary affairs of a country, a corporation, or a person.” That is right out of the dictionary for you, too. Which is a very different kind of work.

So, yes, it’s “financist” like economist. Or optometrist. Or psychologist. Or psychiatrist. Or oncologist. Or dermatologist. Or geologist. Or biologist. Or analyst. Or journalist. Or like so many other “……ists.”

Financist fits right in. See? I’m astonished it did not already exist. Now you see how financist finally fills a real void…is just the brand-new word we have needed for so long.

I couldn’t wait to spring “financist” on Mark in the morning. Well, he listened. And reflected. And said finally, “Yes, I suppose it may be okay….”

I thought he’d whoop with pleasure. Would clap me on the shoulder and say, “Congrats, Dad!” Excitedly would tell me, “That’s exactly what I am. A financist!” Would give me a hug.

His less than enthusiastic reaction, to put it mildly, took the wind right out of my sails. But that’s because the word was new to him. Don’t you see? He just wasn’t used to it. Simple.

But instantly I recovered. I thought it over. Yes, “financist” is perfect. Just the word we need. I’m absolutely positive. Hey, can you think of a better word? Heck, no!

But suddenly I had a doubt. “Maybe the word does exist. Maybe I‘m just not aware of it.” Not so. I checked. I can’t find it anywhere.

So, okay, I can see Mark is not yet ready to order business cards that from now on will proclaim him Mark John LaPlante, Ph.D., Financist.

But just think. Instantly that would make him the very first financist in the world. Gosh! Well, our English-speaking world anyway. Imagine the excited reaction when he handed his cards out!

Surely he’ll come around to “financist.” He’d better! Or else I’ll take him right out of my will. Well, I won’t do anything quite that drastic. But you know what I am trying to say.

As for me, tomorrow I will send my brainstorm to the editors of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the Oxford English Dictionary, Webster’s New World College Dictionary, every English dictionary I can find.

I’ll bet they’ll be so excited by “financist” that they’ll stop their printing presses to get the word into their next editions.

And if Mark hasn’t thought better of my brainstorm before then, certainly he will come to his senses when I point out the word to him in the Merriam-Webster, say. Which is our best dictionary. Well, I think so. And the other dictionaries, too.

Finally I’ll be able to say to folks, “Arthur and Monique are lawyers and Mark is a financist!” Not just that blah “professor of finance” title.
Oh, boy oh boy!

I’m sure you share my excitement. You do, don’t you? …. Don’t you? Ah, come on!

~ ~ ~



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