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ace

never thought that a word would trigger visceral hatred within me, but the word ace did. It reminded me of what, to my tastes, was the worst movie ever made, Ace Ventura, Pet Detective.

I’ve sat through a lot of garbage movies thinking, “It can’t all be this bad. I’ll suffer through some more to get the good parts.” The good parts often don’t come, but I persist nonetheless. I couldn’t do it with Ace Ventura. I found it unbearable. It’s the only movie I’ve ever walked out on.

Fortunately, there are other things to say about the word ace that might push the thoughts of that movie, which I shall not name again, out of my mind.

Ace can be a verb that means to do something very well. For, example, you might ace an exam. I never aced exams in school, but, who knows, you might. Let me know how that works out.

Ace can also be a noun that has a few different meanings.

For one, it is a playing card. In card games that rank the cards, the ace is usually the most valuable card.

This is the origin of the expression, “she has an ace up her sleeve,” which means that she has some secret gambit to play that will allow her to succeed at whatever goal is being considered. This expression is typically used as a metaphor when discussing some other life situation, rather than a card game.

If you are playing a card game and you’re caught with an ace up your sleeve, the other players might have something to say about that. If they are violent sorts of people they might have something not only to say about it, but also to do about it. And what they do might result in a hospital stay on your part.

So, get a lot of practice at palming those aces up your sleeve unseen and make sure that there isn’t another ace of the same suit in the deck. Or you could not cheat. It’s your call.

An ace is also a combat pilot who has shot down at least five other planes. The dictionary doesn’t say, but I think they have to be enemy planes to count. Friendly fire mishaps would be looked upon somewhat unfavorably in such circumstances.

An ace can also be a person who is an expert at something in particular. For example, when you’re taking a plane trip on a vacation you want that plane to be flown by an ace pilot, although not necessarily one looking to shoot down five other planes. Using a card analogy, if the plane you’re on is being flown by a deuce pilot you could end up strewn in little pieces over a wide area after the plane makes an unscheduled stop nose first into the ground. Have a nice trip.

An ace is also a tennis shot that the opponent isn’t able to touch. I don’t play tennis, or any other sport, but if I did play tennis I would be responsible for a lot of other players hitting aces.

It’s not that the other player would be any better against me than they would play against anyone else. It’s just that that’s the sort of uncoordinated clod I am. I’d never get near the ball unless my opponent fired it directly at my racquet. Even then, my hand-eye coordination is so bad that I’d probably move my racquet out of the line of fire, thinking that I was moving it where it had to be to connect with the ball.

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