Gentle Humor

I don't offend some of the people most of the time

Category: Words

The Curse of Pepper

I love pepper. I sprinkle it on everything – potatoes, tomatoes, popcorn, ice cream, cottage cheese. Pepper ranks right up there with chocolate and salt.

Salt and chocolate, however, don’t make me gag. Pepper does. It’s a real medical thing – pepper gets in some people’s throats and makes them cough like they’ve got a hair ball, except worse.

For this reason I try not to eat pepper in public. It doesn’t happen every time, but if pepper hits the right spot in my throat it’s going to be five minutes of severe coughing and gagging and people yelling, “Is there a doctor in the house?”

Once the coughing starts, I can’t make it stop. Drinking water – nope. Holding my breath – I end up raining a waterfall of spit drops on whoever’s in range. My eyes water like I got sprayed with concentrated onion juice, and my face gets red as a monkey’s bum.

In restaurants people get these really worried looks on their faces like I’m going to keel over in front of them. They’ll get up and start patting me on the back – patting harder and harder until they’re knocking what minuscule air I have left out of me. It does no good since the coughing must follow its full five minute course, and not a second less.

Sometimes I’ll get up and go to the bathroom to finish out the gagging in there, but this is not so good. There are smells in there – that I feel like I’m gulping odor molecules down as I try to catch my breath.

Today I choked at work on some pepper I mistakenly put on my collard greens, and while someone was talking to me I started to sputter. I tried to force myself not to cough, and it worked for a few seconds, until my coworker said, “Are you okay, your face is getting red.”

I couldn’t answer because it took all my strength and concentration to stifle the cough. To no avail, though. It started, and my coworker got upset because he thought I was dying, until my other coworker said, “She’s okay, she must have eaten some pepper.” I got up from my chair and headed for the bathroom. I heard him holler after me, “Are you going to be okay? Should I call a doctor?”

My other coworker piped up and said, “Hey, yeah, call Dr. Pepper.” They laughed, and I went in the bathroom and nearly fell over – they have GOT to get that fan fixed – and five minutes later returned.

“Hey, did you see Dr. Pepper when you were in there?” They giggled – I could tell they’d been sitting there making up Dr. Pepper jokes, so I decided to join in.

“No,” I said, “but I sure could use a pepper-mint. Anyone got one?  And your jokes are so corny – no, even worse than that, they’re pepper-corny.”

Pepper brings the clever out in me, I guess.

The Paradox of Paradoxes

I’ve had an exhausting day of trying to set up meetings. It’s easier with email than making a bunch of phone calls, but still it just takes forever.

Hmmm, if everything takes forever then how come nothing lasts forever? Quite the paradox. I have other paradoxes, but before that you are probably asking what, exactly, is a paradox.

A paradox is two things that seem to contradict each other, like computers are supposed to save time but they need maintenance so often. To remember it, think of para like a “pair a” things that don’t add up. Here are some samples of para – doxes as promised in the last para – graph:

You can save money by spending it.

Youth is wasted on the young.

I can resist anything but temptation.

Nobody goes to that restaurant, it’s too crowded.

Don’t go near the water until you’ve learned to swim.

If you fall down and break your leg, don’t come running to me.

That’s enough paradoxes.

That last sentence was not a paradox, by the way.

Neither was that one.

So I was talking about things lasting forever. This topic has dragged on for quite some time, and perhaps you might say that it, in fact, has lasted forever.

That might be true except that I am about to bring it to an abrupt halt wiith one story that might illustrate several key points.

I was in church on Sunday and they were having this stewardship fair so they wanted us to go over to coffee and donuts and visit the various tables to learn about volunteer opportunities. Each time you went to a table and talked with someone, you’d get a raffle ticket. The prize was a pie. I collected as many as I could. I didn’t even care what kind of pie it was. I like all pies except apple, which I will relish anyway if another pie isn’t handy.

About a year ago I quit winning raffles. Prior to that I could not lose. If there were raffle tickets given out, I won, even if I picked up a torn raffle ticket off a greasy floor with shoe prints all over it.

And then, just like someone had turned off the luck faucet, I went into a dry spell where I didn’t win any raffles.

You might think, “How many raffles is this woman exposed to?” And I would say, “Who wants to know?” Then you’d say, “What’s it to you?” and I’d say, “It’s none of your freaking business,” and you’d say, “I’m damn well making it my business,” and I’d say, “Well you can damn well try and see how far that gets you,” and then you would lunge at my throat with your long, yellow fingernails and try to strangle me, and I’d break free and take off running – in a zigzag pattern so you couldn’t shoot me, and you’d jump in your car and try to run me down, and I’d duck around a corner and find myself in a dark alley with a brick wall at the end and no way out, then you’d turn the corner and I’d be spotlighted as you bore down on the accelerator, and then I’d scream and we’d break for commercial..

Yes, I suppose some things do last forever, like my rambling here, which is……..TO BE CONTINUED.

Spell Check Doesn’t Like Whoo-hoo

I use a lot of “sayings” when I write, like “fixin’ to fix dinner” or “fiddy-cent” that get underlined, and if I run spell check and say the words are okay, the underline goes away.

The other day I got this fun comment on one of my posts: “It’s such a tickety-boo site. fabulous, very intriguing!!!” This comment has two underlines, and I can’t wait to see what spell check is going to say about tickety-boo. Spell check gets very confused with made up words but, being a hard worker and aching to please, it tries with all its might to come up with a plausible suggestion.

For instance, I was excited about reaching 300 posts, and I typed the words “whoo-hoo.” (There goes the red underline again). Since right now I’m noticing these underlines, I just discovered, after all these years, that the red underlines must be misspelled words and the green ones must be grammar or “other” errors, like a missing capitalization, incorrect comma usage, or an unsightly poppy seed caught between my words – and spell check wants to point it out because it’s my friend.

Okay the poppy seed thing is dumb, but spell check doesn’t think so. It didn’t find any errors at all in that whole rambling, except the “whoo-hoo.” So I ask it, “What’s the matter boy, what is it? Did Timmy fall in a well?” My daughter said this to me yesterday in the middle of a conversation, and I was amazed.

“How do you know about Lassie?” I asked.

“Wasn’t that about a dog with a pointed nose?”

“Yes, but you’ve never seen it, have you?”

“Didn’t that dog have a lot of long hair?”

“Yes, Lassie was a collie.”

“Whatever. What’s for supper?”

Who knows where these kids get their information? I’ll have a half dozen girls in the car and an old song comes on the radio and they all start singing along in their loudest voices. The noise is deafening. But what’s really amazing is how they know the words to the songs I used to sing when I was a kid. I can guarantee you I did NOT know the words to any songs my parents knew. My dad used to sing blues songs which I had no interest in whatsoever because I was into rock n roll.

Hmmmm – spell check didn’t underline rock n roll. How does it know that’s a word? “n” is not a word. Maybe spell check is on vacation – down in Tahiti sipping Mai Tai’s and wiggling its toes in the sand, catching some rays.

Whatever the case, I’m going to finish this “whoo-hoo” thing right now so I can move on with my life. I got a red line under “whoo-hoo” and spell check had some suggestions. The first one was “hoo-ha.” I wondered, “How come spell check knows “hoo-ha” but doesn’t know “whoo-hoo?” To me it seems like “whoo-hoo” has been around longer than “hoo-ha.”  Perhaps I’m misspelling “whoo-hoo.” Maybe it’s supposed to be “whoo-who.” Nope, spell check doesn’t like that either. I’m going to see what Google says. Be right back.

Hmmm, quite interesting. Google says it’s supposed to be “woo-hoo” because that’s what Homer Simpson was using, but the bank, “WaMu” adopted “whoo-hoo” and trademarked it as their slogan. Since WaMu is now Chase, I guess that didn’t work out too well.

For the record, spell check doesn’t think “woo-hoo” is a word either, but I’m not complaining. Spell check is my friend, and it’s doing the best it can, and Lord knows I ask a lot from it with my made up words, sentence fragments, and bona-fide typos. To me, spell check is fabulous – it’s simply tickety-boo!

Sayings to Giggle By

My dad was a character. He was a union electrician whose speech was salted with crude four letter words, but also a lot of funny sayings. I have to warn you that I’m going to be using some of those four letter words in the next few lines, so if you’re easily offended, better tuck tail and run.

One of my favorites was the one my dad used to describe people he didn’t see eye to eye with: “You’re contrary as cat shit under a couch.”

Another one was, “It’s hotter than a half f____ed fox in a forest fire.” Now that’s hot!

He had a good saying for the cold, too: “Colder than a well-digger’s ass in the Klondike.” Brrrrr, that’s freezing!

I was a pretty destructive kid, and was known to break just about anything fairly quickly. One time I broke a toaster and, fearing repercussions, threw it over the neighbor’s hedge. After that my dad started saying, “You could tear up an anvil.”

If he thought someone wasn’t playing with a full deck (a little crazy), he’d say, “He’s a half a bubble off of plumb.” If the person was poor, he’d say, “He doesn’t have a pot to piss in.”

Which reminds me of another saying, “He ain’t got enough sense to pour piss out of a boot.” That’s pretty stupid if you think about it.

I think southerners just have a lot of sayings. My best friend’s mom used to say: “He’s grinnin’ like a mule eatin’ briars.” This same mom said one of the funniest things I ever heard. When she’d wake my friend up for school, my friend would do as she was told and get up, but she’d sit on the edge of the bed with her head hanging down and doze back off. Once her mom came in and said, “Murry, you’d better get up before your pus mats to the bed.”

Oh my gosh, when I heard that story I about wet my pants! What kind of mother says that to her daughter? The best kind, I’d say, because right now I’m tired from work and yet those words have me giggling, and giggling feels good. So thanks, ma, for that great memory.

I had a friend, Clark Reese, who used to say, “I’d rather be pissed off than pissed on.” Those are words of wisdom if I ever heard any.

I dated a guy named Steve and he had a saying I liked, “You’re a sweet little lassie with a cute little chassis.” Charming.

When my brother wore underwear so worn out they wouldn’t stay in place, he said he was wearing Apache underwear: “Rides up behind you and wipes you out.”

There were some trashy kids a block over from my house who were pretty entertaining. One of them, Sharon, would say, “I’ll knock the soup out of you,” and “I’ll snatch you bald headed.”

Another saying I liked describes someone without much between the ears: “The lights are on but nobody’s home.”

Here’s some more:

I’m as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

It’s darker than a bat in a cave.

He’s faster than greased lightning.

You made your bed now lay in it.

Speaking of bed (yawn), it’s time to get some shuteye. So I’m going to make like horse manure and hit the trail.

Southern Speaking

I can say, “Hi, how are you,” and in those four words people know that I am from the south. My accent isn’t as thick as it was when I first came to Portland. Back then I couldn’t even say “Hi” without people saying, “Where’re you from?”

The crazy thing is, they’d use a fake Southern accent to ask me, like, “You all ain’t from around these parts, are you?”

I didn’t like having a voice everyone recognized. I’d call girlfriends with toddlers who answered the phone, “Hel-wo,” and I’d say, “Is your mommy home?” They’d drop the phone on the counter and yell, “MOMMMMMEEEEE, IT’S SUZANNE ON THE PHONE!” 4 words is all it took.

One time I tried to disguise my voice by making it real low, like a gruff old man. “Is your mom home?” The phone slammed down and I heard, “MOMMMMMEEEEEE, THERE’S A MAN ON THE PHONE AND HE SOUNDS LIKE SUZANNE.”

I started trying to figure out what makes southern speech different.

One thing is that it’s rambling. Southerners talk as if they’re sitting on the front porch swing sipping sassafras tea with nothing in particular to do for the next six months. For instance, normal people might say, “I went to the store at noon.” Southerners would say, “I went down to the super market long about noon or a little bit after or maybe it was a little bit before, it’s hard to recall because it’s been awhile, but the point I’m trying to make right here is that when I went down to the grocery store long about noon today, I ran into…”

Southern talk is lazy. We take shortcuts. Everybody probably knows about dropping the g’s on words ending in “ing.” Southerners are laughin, walkin, talkin, fightin, bitin, chewin and spittin. But we also run words together. Like the rapper who named himself after a half dollar. 50 cent. He pronounces it fiddy cent. If you ask someone in the south if they have change for a dollar, they’d say, “Sorry, I’ve only got fiddy cent.” We also say, “Let’s go in nair.”  “What chew doin?” and “How’s ’bout we sit a spell.”

Southern talk might be lazy, but we add in a bunch of syllables to make up for it. In fact, there is not one 1-syllable word in the southern accent that I know about. I found this out one time when my son had a friend over when they were both around seven or eight. I gave them a couple of choices for drinks with lunch. The friend looked puzzled and whispered something to my son. My son said, “She wants to know if you want milk or water.” The kid said to me, “What was that other choice?” I said, “What other choice?” He said, “The meal–ulk one.” That was the first time I realized that I had made milk into two syllables. We do that with everything. We say, “Pa-ass the br-ead.”

The fourth thing we do is pronounce our vowels all wrong. I’s sound like ah. “Ah’m gonna go outside.” Or we’ll add an “r” to it, so that if I’m sleepy I might say, “I’m tarred.” And our e’s sound like a’s. Me sounds like may. My kids used to love to say “me” like that. “Give that toy to may.” “No, give it to may.” They started out saying it like that to make fun of me, but now they keep saying it out of habit, and I think it’s cute.

I have given my southern accent a lot of thought and decided that it’s something that makes me stand out. I know I’ve used it to my advantage to get out of traffic tickets and so forth. I’ve decided that I’m proud of it. If you are interested in talking southern, I’ll try to come up with some more lessons. Until then, just say, “Y’all.” You’ll have people eating of your hand.

How a Morning at Starbucks Defined the Dictionary*

My last blog was about people turning out like their parents and how you had to struggle all through life if you didn’t want to adopt their bad habits. I implied that I had risen above all my parents’ bad habits by being spunky.

However, I had something happen yesterday that caused me to look up the word spunky. Merriam-Webster online said it meant, “full of spunk.” I don’t know about you, but if I’m looking up a word, it’s usually because I don’t know what it means. Having the word’s meaning explained to me by the word itself is going to leave me scratching my head and other parts if no one is looking.

But this is what dictionaries do, and for good reason. A dictionary in the library that tried to contain a complete definition of all words and their derivatives (called “inflected forms” because they often carry communicable diseases) would have to be hauled around on a forklift. Even the ones that don’t have all the words in them are so big they can’t be picked up except by Sumo wrestlers, and have to reside on their own lazy Susan, a device that allows the curious to spin the book around really fast so the dictionary flies off and knocks out the kid sitting at the first table on the right. And, FYI, that device was NOT named after me because my name is SuzANNE, not Susan, even though many, many people here in the Northwest think I’m saying ‘Susan’ because they don’t understand my Southern accent and just nod politely and say “uh-huh” when I talk, lest I repeat myself.

When Merriam and Webster got together to come up with their dictionary, Webster knew what had to be done. He said to Merriam, “Look, there are a million ways you can use every word. Take the very simple word ‘winter.’ Other words you can make with it are winterize, wintered, wintering, wintercation – the list is endless. So here’s what let’s do. We’ll define ‘winter’ and then make everyone refer back to that word when they look up all these other words.”

“I don’t get it,” Merriam said.

“It’s simple,” Webster grinned, sipping a cup of coffee and taking a bite of the pumpkin bread, the house specialty at this Starbucks. “Chew fake do nerd…”

“I hate it when you talk with your mouth full,” Merriam said. “Finish chewing. I’ll wait.”

Webster took another huge bite of banana bread because he secretly loved tormenting Merriam. Merriam knew this, so he got up and said, “I’m going to the bathroom.”

Webster didn’t chew the whole time he was gone; just sat there like a chipmunk with both cheeks puffed out, filled to capacity with date-nut bread.

Merriam knew what Webster was up to, so he took extra time in the bathroom. This was easy because they had one of those cool soap dispensers that turn the pink gooey liquid in the clear glass pump into a nice round ball of puffy white foam that smelled like roses, daisies, and hollyhocks. He washed his hands several times, looking at himself in the mirror and smiling a rakish grin, knowing that the cinnamon roll was still in Webster’s mouth and he would start choking on it if enough time passed.

Back at the table, Webster felt a tickle in his throat but hoped that if he just relaxed and stayed calm he could weather it out, although he knew Merriam would wash his hands over and over because he was a clean freak. The tickle got more persistent, and sent a message to Webster’s brain that said, “Scratch me.” Webster ignored them both. The tickle decided to bump it up a notch, and sent a message to Webster’s brain that came through as a shout. Webster tensed up, ready for battle. The tickle was not backing down. It knew it would win over time, as long as Webster didn’t pour scalding black coffee all over it, in which case it generally retreated. But today it was digging in. Today it said, “Bring on the coffee.  Bring on the ice water. You can’t expect to hold food in your mouth and not swallow and get away with it, sucka. Not on my watch!”

Mirriam, squirting another fun ball of foam, heard a knock on the bathroom door. “Crap,” he said. He dried his hands slowly under the electric hand dryer, not rubbing them together so it took longer. He started the dryer again. The noise of the dryer drowned out the insistent pounding on the door, no doubt by someone full of Starbucks coffee and in desperate need to get in there.

Finally the dryer stopped and Merriam opened the door. A lady with her legs crossed nearly knocked him over as she rushed past. “Humph,” Merriam said to let her know how rude she was.

Webster, seeing Merriam approaching, pleaded with his throat, “Please just hold on for another couple of seconds.” The tickle was not having any part of it. It started agitating so that Webster felt like his larynx and windpipe were being assaulted by an octopus waving feathers.

Merriam, sliding into the booth, said to Webster, “I see by your cheeks that you are still eating.”

Webster tried to grin. At this very second the tickle brought out the big guns.

TO BE CONTINUED

*As with all historical fiction, the people may be real, but the places and incidents are made up or else the story would be boring. Not that I’m making any of this up, but I want to cover myself just in case. If the law comes after me, don’t tell them I’m hiding under the dictionary.

Standupize It

I have exciting news. I know you remember how hard I was working last week. I’m certain you recall that I was working on a solar proposal for my company, Mr. Sun Solar, to solarize southwest Portland. Well, if you do recall that, you can read minds and should be in the circus, because I didn’t mention it. I was just grousing in general.

However, specifically right now I’m saying that my company got the bid. To show his appreciation for my part of the effort, designing and editing the 17 page bid and making it pretty, my boss had a plaque made for me, which really touched my heart. He presented it during our company celebration, so I read the inscription out loud.

“For Outstanding Achievement

Solaize SW Portland Proposal”

I stumbled on the word “solaize” and he said, “They misspelled solarize.” To which I said, in a voice like a brotha: “We gonna sola – ize southwest Portland” kindof drawing out the “ize”  into a long whisper-like sound.

Everyone at the office got a laugh out of that, which makes me think I should do standup comedy.

I can’t blame the plaque company, it was probably the first time they’d ever seen the word. It’s a made-up word, after all. Well, I think it’s made up, but I’d better check with Google….. I’m back, and I’m wrong. It’s a real word. Here’s what Google says: “(Physics / General Physics) to treat by exposure to the sun’s rays.” I’m not curious enough to question the difference between Physics and General Physics, but if someone else wants to, have at it.

Anyway, I was going to continue this blog talking about how we make up words to suit us but you’d never find them in the dictionary – words, for instandce, like “solarize” – but now I’m screwed.

Still, there are a bunch of words that appear to be made up. Super-size is one of them. I’ll look that up….. Just as I suspected. No mention of this in a dictionary. McDonald’s gets all the credit for this made-up word.

I have been known to make these words up myself. To appear cute and funny to my kids, if I’m putting a spread of pure yellow fat on a piece of toast I’ll say, “Do you want me to butterize it?” They show their amusement by rolling their eyes. They do that a lot around here, which makes me think I should do standup.

In my head, I’m trying to think of other words I could make up with “ize” and I’ve discovered something very interesting. One syllable words don’t work very well when they’ve been ized. If I want to shovel an organic material around a new plant, saying I’m going to “dirtize” it doesn’t sound right, whereas “fertilize” sounds great. If I’m going to throw a ball really really fast, saying “speedize” it sounds weird, but saying I’m going to “rocketize” it sounds just right. Here’s one more. If I have some grape juice and I want to conduct an experiment by letting it sit out a few days, I could say I’m going to “wine-ize” it, but it will sound better saying “fermentize” it. I’ve actually conducted this exact experiment before, and what ends up happening is that I “fruitflyized” it.

Oh what fun! Don’t you just love playing with words?!! I bet I could do a whole standup routine about this one suffix. If I do, I’ll be sure to let you know where and when I’ll be performing.

No Vomitorium for Me

I have been working on a tedious task—editing someone else’s writing and fact checking sources. I think writing is fun when you’re trying to make a point and you find a great quote from an “official” person who has more clout than you. When you quote that person, it becomes believable and credible to the reader. However, in your zeal of discovery, you copy the quote and put a word or two of reference where you think you might have gotten the quote (but you looked at so many web sites, who can remember…). You move on with the next quote and say, “Let the grunt figure it out!”  Then the grunt, who is me in this case, has to spend wee hours of the night chasing down obscure quotes that turn out to be incorrectly copied or attributed to a whole different person or both.

What’s this got to do with the price of eggs? In my misery, I started to grasp for a silver lining and said to myself, “At least I’m not having to stand on my feet behind a cash register all day.” And with that I comforted myself. There’s always someone who has it harder than you, no matter what. And I used to be a cashier at a department store, so I know what that’s like. It’s not so bad, really, but I’d rather be doing this than that, especially now that my feet and back would complain 24/7 if I stood for eight hours. There are lots of jobs that I’ve done, and each had its drawbacks. I was a lifeguard and baked in the East Tennessee sun all day long with the scant protection of white zinc oxide on my nose. I wouldn’t do that now if someone gave me a new car—well, maybe I would but only with an umbrella and a body cast made of sunscreen.

I was a waitress and liked that, but I wouldn’t do it again. Walking back and forth all day carrying heavy trays? Waiting forty-five minutes while a wishy-washy bimbo asked what everything on the menu tasted like—“Is the veal good?” “I’ve never tried it.” “Can you find me someone who has, sweetie?”

I wouldn’t like to do any job that involves an odor. I have been blessed with a nose that can sniff a rose at 50 feet. Unpleasant smells make me barf if I can’t run away from them quickly enough. I could never work in anything having to do with caged animals, sewage, baby day care, or where people are sick to their stomachs. In ancient Rome people would gorge themselves on feasts, but since they didn’t want to get fat, and since they wanted to keep eating, they’d go to a vomitorium and upchuck to make room for more gluttony. Can you imagine being an employee at one of these establishments? First you’ve got to listen to them, which would be enough to set me off, then you’d have to clean up because you know there would be splatters everywhere. I’m almost sick thinking about it.

I also couldn’t work at a place where there is a lot of whining. So I wouldn’t last long in a complaint department. When the lady brought the armpit stained dress back that smelled like tobacco smoke and had a couple of red wine stains—but the tags were still on it—I’d have a conniption fit.

I looked up conniption fit just now. It’s “an angry outburst.” It’s also “one of New England’s premier indie rock bands!” And it’s a little more emotional than a hissy fit.

That’s another job I probably wouldn’t like so much. Defining words for a dictionary. I like knowing what words mean, but I’m not so sure I’d like looking them up. Wait. You couldn’t look them up because you’d BE the dictionary. So how do they know, and know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a hissy fit is milder than a conniption fit?  This question makes me feel like I did when I first discovered eternity in about the second grade. I was in a Catholic school and we were talking about Heaven and going there for all eternity. I’m the kind of person who likes beginnings and endings. So eternity freaked me out completely. All I could picture was the image of two mirrors facing each other, and you see mirrors reflected in both of them that stretch to the vanishing point. That wasn’t even good enough because you kindof got a sense that the mirrors would be so small that they disappeared, which was an ending. It took me a few years of cogitating the whole thing to come to accept that whatever happens I’ll deal with it. Just like having to give my dad showers when he was recovering. Oh my gosh! I would have had nightmares if I’d known I was going to ever have to see him naked. I’m getting a shiver like you get when you see a ghost going up my spine right now thinking about it. Let’s change the subject.

My point was that I guess with anything – a job, an old naked parent, or what have you—you get used to it. That does not mean I would put my application in for a vomitorium, though. I have to draw the line somewhere.

Exercising Your Akimbo

Last night I exercised. I did a few sissy push-ups and a few crunches, staggered back to me feet and threw myself on the sofa all akimbo, worn out, huffing and puffing, wondering if a heart attack was speeding on it’s way.

And you ask why the heck do I do it – why do I use words like akimbo?  Can’t I just say something simple like flopped on the couch? And what does such a word even mean?

Well, I’m glad you asked, because I certainly don’t know but I’m going to consult the all-knowing and very powerful Google, and I’ll get right back to you.

Sorry to keep you so long, but this word is way more interesting than you’d think. I discovered how I probably got it in my head that it meant getting tossed around like a rag doll, which it doesn’t mean, but it was used that way on Seinfeld, and since I’ve seen every episode, I must have picked it up when Elaine was dancing at the Christmas party and jerking around, and was described as “dancing with her limbs flailing and arms akimbo.” That was a pretty funny episode, and I bet she got plenty of exercise practicing that dance.

According to Wikipedia, akimbo means standing with your hands on your hips. There is also a rock band named Akimbo, so I went to their website and found out that you can book them by calling a number with an area code of 206. They don’t say where they’re located, but another site said that “Jon Weisnewski (Bass/Vocals) and Nat Damm (Drums) have solidified a unique and devastating sonic battle axe left embedded in the skulls of their enemies.” (www.punknews.org) Sounds like my kind of music.

Why is this important in the great scheme of life? Because when we go around heaving heavy words like akimbo all over the place and naming rock bands after them, we are enriching the English language and making it a much better experience for our children, our children’s children, and our children’s children’s children ad infinitum – which is another heavy word worth toting on your colossal English tool belt.

And what does this ad infinitum mean? Do you ever stop with the questions?

I know it’s Latin, and I know what it means, but is there a rock band named after it? That’s what I’m curious to find out. I’m going to go check. Hold on a second.

Did you feel the whoosh of me zooming back? I have fast internet. I couldn’t locate a rock band per se, but I found something musical (I think) that is much more intriguing. It’s an “Analog Modular Synthesizer Frac-Rak Modules by Alex Iles.” I’m not going there because some things you’re better not knowing, but this phrase perfectly illustrates my point. Words should be entertaining if they can’t be sensible, and this Frac-Rac thing tickles my fancy, which is located behind my knees, a particularly sensitive area especially on children. If you want to tickle them until they wet their pants (which is cruel and I do not condone), tickle their fancy rather than their feet (which can kick) or armpits (which can leave a distinct odor).

Distinct. That’s another great word – it’s got a bad smell built right in, so it’s like giving someone a double whammy when you say they have a distinct odor because of the word stink in there. Odor is bad enough, but a stinky odor is just foul.

Bet you didn’t think of that, did you? See, it’s good to exercise your cleverness with the English language, and it sure the heck beats sit-ups and push ups.

 

Copyright © 2017 by Suzanne Olsen