I’ve frequently been asked what “assay” means, and this being my last chance to do so, I thought I’d explain. The Oxford English Dictionary lists 17 definitions for “assay,” many with several sub-definitions. My favorites, however, are “To put to the proof, try (a person or thing); to test the nature, excellence, fitness, etc. of,” “To try to know or learn; to inquire,” “To assail with words, or arguments,” and “To venture, make bold.”
I like to think my columns over the past two years have fallen somewhere within the territory marked out by these definitions, somewhere between questioning and attacking and always making bold. I also like the sound of the word “assay,” playing as it does on “essay” and on having “a say” in weighty matters.
That question answered, I will use my remaining 100 words to commit the cardinal sin of thanking a necessarily incomplete list of people who have helped me assay over the years. First, always, to my parents, for their support (editorial, psychological and yes, financial) and their love. Thanks to Brook, who has been a far better friend than I deserve; to Jenn, whom I love far more than I know how to tell her; and to Ty, who has been a wonderful and supportive roommate for three years now.
Finally, thanks to everyone who read my column and especially to those who offered feedback. I’ve enjoyed writing for you.
Josh Chafetz is a senior in Berkeley College.