Today I was chatting with one of the dealers at a desperate table ("desperate" being the casino's term for a table which has a dealer sitting on it, but no game). She'd recently had a hip replacement, and I told her about my own surgical experiences involving the extra bone growths on my legs. "Gu ci," she said, "In Chinese means Bone Thorns." Of course the Chinese term would be much more evocative than the English medical name ("multiple exostoses" or "osteochondroma" or something like that) and slightly more beautiful than "bone spur," which always makes me think of a skeleton wearing cowboy boots.
...."Thanks," I said, "Gu ci. That's great. If I learn one new Chinese word a day I'll be able to speak properly when I'm 100."
...."It's not so hard," she replies, "I used to learn 20 new words a day. Problem is now, if I learn 20 words today, I forget 25 tomorrow."
...."Yeah," I agreed. "It's the forgetting that starts to kill you."