“Put on a few eggs, there’s a good fellow!” Gandalf called after him, as the hobbit stumped off to the pantries. “And just bring out the cold chicken and pickles!”
“Seems to know as much about the inside of my larders as I do myself!” thought Mr. Baggins, who was feeling positively flummoxed, and was beginning to wonder whether a most wretched adventure had not come right into his house. By the time he had got all the bottles and dishes and knives and forks and glasses and plates and spoons and things piled up on big trays, he was getting very hot, and red in the face, and annoyed.
– J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
flum·moxed | \ ˈflə-məkst , -mikst \
Definition of flummoxed
: completely unable to understand : utterly confused or perplexed
Ever since I first read Tolkien’s use of the word “flummoxed” in The Hobbit, I have loved the word. Not that I often find an opportunity to use “flummoxed” in normal, American conversation! No, pulling such a word out of my pocket would almost certainly make me seem rather pretentious, when the word itself is from informal, mid-20th century British English.
Why do I love the word “flummoxed” so much? I think I just like its sound, and I like that its sound seems similar to the way you feel when you are flummoxed. When I’m confused about what I’m supposed to do next, or when something stumps me, I am, indeed, flummoxed! I identify strongly with Bilbo in moments like this.
We are all The Flummoxed as we weave our way through this journey of life, and writing is one manner in which we can try to make sense of that experience. This site, The Flummoxed, is me admitting to myself that I don’t always know what to do next, and it’s me trying to make sense of that feeling through writing.
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
– J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Thank you for reading!
— Ethan McGuire