I'm really much too old to roll on the floor, but I can still laugh a bit. Richard Gearhart and his recent Community Voices piece was the cause this time ("Community Voices: The economy needs to reopen, but individuals need to comply," Dec. 8).

When I came to "a canonical economic externality," I couldn't take it any more. This seems to me a perfect example of nonsense syllables placed together in a seemingly coherent way. I have no doubt that these are actual words, with perfectly good meanings. It's just that to the uninitiated, they are gibberish.

My guess is that his prose is excessively prodromal, though I can't vouch for this, as "prodromal" is another word that I don't know. Since I learn most words by examining them in various contexts as I come across them, I will almost certainly never learn this word. Another writer used it once, years ago, and I haven't seen it again.

Larry Dunn, Bakersfield