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“They” say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. (Do you, like me, want to find out who “they” are and make sure that they are fine, upstanding individuals who pay their fair share of taxes before you take advice from them?) I don’t know about that growing fonder claim. I think that intense necking, not to mention passionate sex, makes the heart grow fonder, but absence? I’m not sure. In fact, I seriously doubt it.

I have a short memory and tend to forget things, and people, quickly. It’s hard to grow fondness under those conditions.

The definitions of absence as provided by The New Penguin English Dictionary (1986) fall in the “duh” category. They are: “The state of being absent” and “the period of time that one is absent.”

In that dictionary, the word absent falls two words below the word absence. What is the probability that people are going to have to look up the word absence if they already know what the word absent means? And what help do those definitions provide if they don’t know what the word absent means? The answers to those questions are: infinitesimal and none.

In my opinion, the dictionary writers should have been more creative and come up with definitions of absence that didn’t include the word absent. “The state of not being there” and “the period of time when you are not there” sound to me like suitable candidates for the job.

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