This afternoon I was trying to explain to one one my students what “sympathetic” meant. He picked up on the “pathetic” part. I tried to tell him that to feel sympathy was to understand how a person felt. Always choose your words carefully. I made the analogy of running for a bus in the rain and getting splashed as the bus pulled away. Later, you’re driving and see someone else running for a bus in the rain and being splashed as it drove away. Because it happened to you, you’d know how they felt. “Yeah,” he says. “They’re pathetic.” How do you argue with that?