Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Eating "Brinner" with a "Spork"

The best thing about the English language is that it is constantly growing and changing. If you want to, you can make up a new word. If enough people like it and use it, it will actually become a new word, in the dictionary and everything. Awesome!

The worst thing about the English language is that it is constantly growing and changing. Any idiot can spout some nonsense gibberish, pretend it is a word, and if enough other idiots agree, it actually will become a word. Ridiculous!

(I'm guilty myself. In my last post I "created" the word undressedness. I don't think it is going to catch on. I am an idiot.)

What got me thinking about this is a constant barrage of Subway Sandwich commercials on the radio. They continually claim that their sandwiches are freshtastic. Freshtastic is not a word. It sounds kind of stupid to me. If the sandwiches are fresh and fantastic, just say so, don't try to make up a new word, because I'm not buying it.

This got me thinking about some of the other "words" that people have tried to create by smashing two words together. Some have been successful, some haven't. One of the best and most accepted "smashed" words is brunch. Everyone knows that brunch is a combination of breakfast and lunch. And most people like brunch. (Anything that has the possibility of bacon is going to be well received by the general populace.)

The television show Scrubs introduced me to the similar word brinner, which is when you have breakfast food for dinner. And again, anything that encourages my consumption of french toast and syrup gets my full approval.

This brings me to spork, which leaves me somewhat torn. I like the word spork. It is fun to say. I like the concept of the spork, combining the best features of a spoon and a fork. But, in practice, the spork doesn't really work. The fork tines of the spork are just not long enough to actually do much good. It ends up simply being a spoon with a jagged edge. Nice try.

A homemade Spork! (Don't worry, it works about as well as the ones they give you at KFC.)

There are some "smashed" words that I have nothing but pure contempt for. Whenever anyone refers to the largest city in Georgia as Hotlanta, I literally want to punch them in the face. I don't know why it bothers me so much, but it does. (I get angry just typing it: Hotlanta. I better walk away and cool down for a minute.)

(Okay, I'm back.) Similarly, I will never, never, never, never buy a truck during a sales promotion referred to as Trucktober. True, I've never bought a truck and probably never will (at this point I'm more of a mini-van kind of guy), but that doesn't mean I can't hold grudges against dealerships with Trucktober promotions.

Oddly enough, despite my disdain for Trucktober, I'm okay with the similar sounding Rocktober. I'm not sure why. Maybe I just like the rock and roll music so much that anything that promotes it is all right with me. (Because, as rock and roll legend Bryan Adams once sang, "everywhere you go, kids wanna rock!")

[Note: My editors have just informed me that Bryan Adams is not a "rock and roll legend." Rather he is, in fact, a "Canadian pop singer." Sorry for the confusion.]

Pillsbury is trying to make funfetti into a word by marketing cake and frosting with little bits of candy sprinkles (funfetti) mixed in. And once again, because it involves tasty sweet food, I'm inclined to like it.

The word "fantastic" is a popular base for "smashed" words. Besides Subway's freshtastic, there are funtastic, and craptastic, among others. And then there is fantabulous, which uses the other end of fantastic. I'm fine with all of these because I don't think any of them were created for an ad campaign. (I'm not quite as fond of scrumpdillyicious. It's trying a little too hard.)

Things might be getting a little out of control. I recently heard a snow storm referred to as a snowpocalypse. (It wasn't. Most everyone survived.)

My favorite "smashed" word, though, was something that was made up specifically for The Wife and I. When we were dating and engaged, we were very, very happy; both of us walking around with goofy grins on our faces most of the time. We were also very sappy, with lots of public displays of affection; a general sap level so sweet that even Aunt Jemima wouldn't dare bottle it. So, they started calling us shappy. And it fit perfectly, because we were shappy!

We're not as shappy anymore. We're still very happy, but four years of marriage, two kids, dirty diapers, potty-training accidents, and general lack of sleep have sapped most of the sap out of our shappiness. It's okay, though. The kids have pushed the happiness up to levels I never thought it could reach. And, every once in a while we'll tap into a vein of sap and be even shappier than we ever were before. (I get shappy just thinking about it!)

Okay, now it's your turn. Are there any "smashed" words that drive you crazy or that you really like? Let's get some comments going. Thanks!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Law of Roommate Undressedness

I am not allowed to walk around the house in my underwear. (This is probably a good thing.) The Wife, on the other hand, is allowed to stroll through the home in her underwear without any repercussions. Double standard? Not really. It's just the Law of Roommate Undressedness.

You see, what I have going against me is the fact that The Wife's sister, Kimmie, lives in our basement apartment. The basement has its own door, but it's not always accessible in the winter. Plus, the apartment isn't totally separate: we share the washer/dryer area and the downstairs family room with her. So, basically, she is our roommate, and it is perfectly feasible for her to be walking around in our house at any time of the day or night. And thus, no moseying about in my scivvies for me.

Conversely, according to the Law of Roommate Undressedness, the same is true for Kimmie. She can't wander around in her underwear either, because she would never know when I might be lurking about. (Honestly, I don't lurk.) (At least not on purpose.)

The Wife, however, is immune to all of this. As my wife and Kimmie's sister, she is free to roam about in her underwear willy-nilly. (And she occasionally does.)

Of course, if it were my brother living in the basement, the tables would be turned. The Wife would be stuck in her pajamas and/or sweats, while I would be free to prance around in my underwear. (Well, maybe not prance.)

The Law of Roommate Undressedness is a bit more vague when the roommate is an opposite gender sibling. It all depends on comfortableness level and age. Right now, my daughter and son take baths together, but that will only last for another year or two. At what age should opposite gender siblings not see each other in their underwear? 5? 8? 12? 16?

Personally, although I would be more comfortable in my underwear around my sister than around almost any other woman, if she lived in our basement I would still clothe myself before walking around. (You're safe, Lynette.)

Of course, most roommates are not siblings. In theses cases the Law of Roommate Undressedness depends almost completely on comfortableness level. How comfortable are you around that person in your underwear?

I think, in general, women are more likely to walk around in their undies around other women than men are around other men. In my personal experience with roommates in college, underwear was rarely seen, with the occasional exception of emergency dashes to the bathroom.

Women, on the other hand, like prancing around wearing nothing but their bras and panties with their female roommates. Or at least that's what I've learned from movies like Animal House. (Animal House was based on a true story, wasn't it?)

(Truthfully, like most other things about women, I have absolutely no clue what exactly it is they do, or why they do it.)

[Disclaimer: As discussed here, the Law of Roommate Undressedness applies only to heterosexual roommates. (I am not going to be responsible for setting dress codes for homosexual roommates.)]

So, that's about all I have to say about the Law of Roommate Undressedness. I guess I'll just sit here with my clothes on for the rest of the day. (Unless Kimmie has gone away for the weekend again. If so, let the prancing begin!)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Pooh Happens

I am a man in my mid-forties. I've lived a lot of years, had a lot of experiences, and reached a certain level of maturity. Or so you would think. You see, there are times when I am no more mature than a 10 year-old boy. Case in point: whenever I see the character Winnie the Pooh, I can not stop myself from making poo jokes.

I blame Oprah. (Wait. This is one of the few societal problems that is not Oprah's fault.) I blame A. A. Milne. Who names a character in a children's book "Pooh?" I think even back in the 1920s poo and poop were synonymous. And I don't care how much you dress it up by adding an "h" on the end, pooh is poo. Rumor* has it that Milne's alternate name for the character was "Winnie the Crappe." (*I like to star rumors.)

Anyway, by naming his bear "Pooh," Milne has left me no choice but to make poo jokes. Oh, they aren't funny jokes, but I feel compelled to make them nonetheless. As an example, I had some friends who had a set of Winnie the Pooh drinking glasses. Anytime they got the glasses out I would feel forced to say, "Hey, there's Pooh on this glass!" Like I said, not funny, but I just couldn't help myself.

The Wife knew about this Pooh compulsion early on in our relationship. (And yet she married me anyway. She's a saint!) Because she knew about this, when we started to have kids she went out of her way to avoid any and all Winnie the Pooh clothing and merchandise. She didn't want our kids to have them, because she didn't want to listen to my lame jokes. Avoiding the Pooh is not as easy as it sounds. There is Pooh everywhere! The Wife's Pooh ban didn't include Pooh's friends, just Pooh. So, we happily have a couple of stuffed Tigger dolls. And I've always been partial to Eeyore. (People say he reminds them of me.)
Look out, Eeyore! There's Pooh on that shirt!!!
But, despite her best efforts, The Wife couldn't stop the flow of Pooh. Pooh is everywhere, because the people pushing the Pooh are brilliant and relentless. Almost everywhere you look, there is Pooh. Pooh is unavoidable. Pooh happens. And so, a couple of Pooh books made it through The Wife's embargo. And then someone who didn't know about my Pooh joke obsession gave The Girl a little stuffed Winnie the Pooh.

At first, I tried to fight it. I tried referring to that little stuffed animal only as "Winnie." But, before long I was saying things like "There's some Pooh on the floor over there," and "That toy box has some Pooh in it." I just couldn't help myself.

And then, it happened. The ultimate Pooh joke, and it didn't come from me. It came from my cute, innocent, little almost-three-year-old Girl. The Girl and her Auntie K were on the floor playing with toys, while I was in the kichen doing some dishes. Before anyone knew what was happening, The Girl had grabbed her stuffed Winnie the Pooh and was holding it against Auntie K's backside. And then The Girl said, "I'm putting Pooh up your bum."

"I'm putting Pooh up your bum."

Needless to say (although I'm going to say it anyway) I thought this was the funniest thing I had ever heard! (So did Auntie K and The Wife.) I don't think The Girl knew what she was saying. But, maybe she did. Maybe she's the funniest kid on the planet. Or maybe it's hereditary. Maybe, because she's made from my genetic material, she's destined to spend her entire life telling really lame Pooh jokes. If so, heaven help us all. (The pooh will really hit the fan.)