Welcome to the 2022 edition of The Blogging From A To Z April Challenge! Throughout April, I and a couple hundred of my best friends are going to be taking a tour through the alphabet, posting something for each letter of the alphabet every day except Sunday. My theme this year is words that start with the prefix in- followed by the letter of the day. Sound good to you? Good! Let’s get started…
When you do something inadvertently, it was an unintentional result of you being careless or not thinking through what could possibly happen before doing it. We’re all guilty of doing this sometimes, some of us more frequently than others.
When I was in fifth grade, after lunch we would line up and file into the building single file and make an orderly trip to our floor and classroom. Mother Edmond Mary, our nun that year, would give the key to the classroom to the guy at the front of the line, and he would unlock and open the door so we could all go in. This one day, a guy named Tim was responsible for unlocking and opening the door. When he opened the door that day, he let it swing wide open, where it hit a fire alarm box, tripping the fire alarm. All of us who were on the stairs did a rapid about-face and left the building, going to our designated location on Loyola Avenue.
Usually, within five minutes, we got the all-clear and would file back into the building, but this day we stood outside for a long time, not knowing what had happened, until the fire engines came roaring up and turned down Loyola Avenue. Had this been a fire drill, the connection between St. Ignatius School and the fire department would have been shut off, but apparently it hadn’t been.
The Chicago Fire Department officers searched through both buildings and discovered the alarm box that Tim had hit with the door, and when we went back into the building they corraled him and started giving him the third degree about why he had pulled the fire alarm. They didn’t seem willing to accept that it had happened by accident, that he had inadvertently hit the box with the door. We were all in the classroom listening to all of this, and finally someone asked him to demonstrate. When he hit the box again, it set off the fire alarm, and we all applauded, knowing that he was off the hook. He got his ass chewed out for letting the door swing like that, but wasn’t punished for setting off the fire alarm, and by the following Monday the box had been replaced.
Until I researched this, I didn’t realize that inadvertent was based on the word advertent, which as you might expect means "paying attention; attentive; heedful." I had never heard advertent or advertently used that way. The things you learn in this job…