Let us suppose that you are in your workshop, working on a balloon-enhanced pedal-powered flying machine.

Let us suppose that your brother barrels out of your house in a whirlwind of coats, scarves, early-afternoon bourbons and goggles. And let us suppose that as he does this, your brother shouts “Are you aware that there are wastrels in your front yard?”.

What could he mean? There are a few choices.

Wastrel is a noun that means a vagabond, idler, waif and it also means refuse, waste as well as one who expends resources foolishly and self-indulgently; a spendthrift.  It originated in the late 1500s and stems from the word waste plus the pejorative rel.

So what did Mordecai mean? Was the front garden awash with garbage? A gaggle of orphaned tykes? Or a profligate relation?

Upon inspection, the front yard was full of Canadian geese yelling at the dragons. Who were yelling back. I’m surprised my neighbors didn’t complain, but let’s be honest – this is the least offensive thing that’s happened in my front garden in a good while.

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