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At the risk of being too obvious, absorbent means having the ability to absorb a liquid.

According to the dictionary I’m using, absorbent can also be spelled absorbant. However, the spell-checker on the word processing software I’m using, Pages, disagrees. They’ll have to fight that out between themselves.

As for me, I wish that all words ending in “ent” or “ant” had official alternate spellings with the other ending. I’m always forgetting which words have which ending.

While we’re on the subject, I also have problems with words ending in “ible” and “able.” So I’d like to put in a word for those words officially getting alternate spellings as well.

I don’t like to appear to be a bad speller. I am a poor speller. I just don’t want to appear to be one. Making both endings official spellings of those sorts of words would go a long way to fulfilling that objective.

But I digress.

Paper towel makers like to tout on television how absorbent their products are. After watching one of their commercials you would be forgiven for thinking that one sheet of their brand of paper towels can absorb all of the water from Lake Superior, the largest of the North American Great Lakes by water volume.

It’s not true. Anything but the very smallest of puddles would require at least a couple of sheets. Even for Lake Erie, the smallest of the Great Lakes, you’d need a great many rolls, not just sheets, to absorb all of it.

An aside: I wonder if anyone is enough of a geek, has enough spare time on his or her hands (probably meaning that he or she has absolutely no life), and is interested enough to have calculated how many sheets of paper toweling it would take to fully absorb each of the Great Lakes of North America. Or any lake for that matter. If so, they could benefit from professional help. And I don’t mean of the mathematical kind.

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