You don’t find people who speak Latin anymore; they are all texting in a new language that is just about as confusing, LOL. BTW u betr lstn 2 thm bcuz IQs r impt evn if spln is not. 

No wonder kids can’t spell nowadays, even the spell checker is way behind the technological curve. So it comes as no surprise to me that a sign at the gym where I go to humble my bones has a big sign in Latin that few pay any attention. The sign reads, “Citius, Altius, Fortius.” I’ll divulge the secret meaning in the next paragraph. Some college kids work at the desk keeping track of who comes and goes and whether they have paid their dues. I asked four of them what Citius, Altius, Fortius means. I drew blank stares from the lot.

The sign is meant to inspire. The only person I found inspired by it was a foreign student who spoke Spanish, and since Latin is a related language, it’s no surprise that he had an answer. He said, “I think Citius, Altius, Fortius means if you eat citrus in high places you get strong.” Well, he wasn’t far off. It means “Swifter, Higher, Stronger” and was the motto for the Olympic Games in 2004. So E Pluribus Unum to all you intellectual athletes who got this right, both of you.

My powers of observation were enhanced by the experience as I began to notice more Latin. On the U.S. dollar bill you will find the Latin ANNUIT COEPTIS and NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM proudly ignored by millions for centuries. The first one means “He (God) approves of our beginnings (America). God is represented by the eye of providence over the unfinished pyramid, which means we’re still not finished (but we may be getting close some think). The second one means “New order of the ages.” Below that are the words “The Great Seal.” One of my colleagues said he didn’t see a seal or a walrus or nothing although he did see an eagle clutching some arrows taken away from the Indians apparently.

So before my interest wore off on the subject I received an e mail from Paul Gower (RIP), a friend out in West Texas. He was a wood carver. People were always sending him some exotic piece of wood to do something with. Paul says his mailman claims he is the only one on his route who gets firewood via the U.S. Mail. 

At the bottom of Paul’s e signature are these words with no explanation: Minutus cantorum, Minutus balorum, Minutus corborundum, Decendum pantorum. Give up? Paul told me it summed up his entire philosophy of a happy life. It means “A little song, A little dance, A little seltzer, Down your pants.” Clever don’t you think? That reminds me of the Catholic priest who called out bingo numbers in Latin at the annual public festival so the Protestants wouldn’t win. 

Doc Blakely is a humorist and motivational speaker who now resides in the Hill Country after living in Wharton 47 years. Visit

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