Hear my words that I might teach you.
— Simon & Garfunkel
I’m sure, given the way every clever person — and, especially, not even close to clever people — use the various social media, that this thing that popped into my head early one morning when I couldn’t sleep is already a thing somewhere.
So, in order to avoid the fate of George Harrison — one of my four favorite Beatles ... I was never that big on Clarence — I will say up front that if you are the person who invented this, I swear on my uncle’s ‘64 Mustang that I did not steal it from you. I have never heard of anyone doing this before, so, like George said in “This Song” after he was ordered to pay royalties for “My Sweet Lord” because it sounded kinda a little if you squinted real hard like the ’50s hit “He’s So Fine” (although George wisely didn’t use the “do-lang, do-lang, do-langs”): “As far as I know doesn’t infringe on anyone’s copyright, oh.”
I love words. I play games in my head with words all the time, usually to stop the infinite repeat of a song lyric that gets stuck up there. I’m impressed by people like Bob Dylan and Jason Isbell, who have the knack for finding just the right words — in a 24-line song, no less — to say what those of us who are mere mortals couldn’t express in a 10,000-word treatise.
One of the things that worries me about young people is that, yes, the creators of their pop music — which is rap and hip-hop light — do use a lot of impressive words, but usually they have no idea what those words mean. They just sound good and rhyme, kinda, with the word at the end of the previous line. And young folks think every word they need is stored somewhere in their cellphones anyway, and they can call it up if need be.
OK, enough rambling ... back to my thing.
Like I said, as I lay awake, thinking about nothing and everything, all at the same time, a word came into my head. Obscene. Then, for reasons known only by my brain — and it wasn’t sharing with the rest of me — the word “scenery” followed immediately after. So, my mind being what it is, put the two together and came up with “obscenery.” And, I reasoned — quite logically, I believe — the perfect definition of that new word is the sets where porn is filmed. You know ... obscene ... ery ... scenery ... obscenery?
Anyway, I liked it. And while I was reveling in my middle-of-the-night cleverness, another came. I was thinking about how people dress, and I thought of fashion mistakes, with which I’m kinda familiar. And since we all wear underwear — (Note: If you don’t, I don’t want to know ... that’ll be your little secret you keep to yourself.) — I came up with a new word for fashion faux pas: Blunderwear.
Before I finally drifted off to sleep that night, so happy with myself, I came up with two more: “Anti-social media” for the jerks who use Facebook, Twitter and the like to complain about, well, everything in existence, and “imaginenation,” which I defined as the lies politicians tell you about the changes they’ll make in the country if elected.
The next day, these words remained in my head, so I picked right back up where I left off. And I came up with:
♦ Herosion: The complete lack of men and women of valor in modern times;
♦ Blas--fromthepast--phemy: When kids say things like “Kanye West helped give Paul McCartney his start.”
♦ Testimoney: Funds paid for professional witnesses (one of my favorites);
♦ Foulmouthful: When a person’s vocabulary consists primarily of swear words;
♦ CriminAlbany: A tribute to our part of the world;
♦ Engineersighted: For Mr. (and Ms.) Fix-its who can’t quite get their little projects right;
♦ Coincidances: When a sock hop breaks out for no apparent reason;
♦ CliNickleback: The only place where you can hear this band’s music regularly;
♦ Forghetto: When you can put the slums that you came from behind you and move on;
♦ Fattorney: Most lawyers who sit on their butts while their staff chases ambulances; and
♦ Jobnoxious: Work that you hate (another favorite).
I told my old boss and buddy Jim Hendricks about this madness — people like Hendricks, Bill Strickland and some of their cronies are pun masters — and he at first gave my enthusiasm for this new word thing a great big “meh.” But the next morning he called and said, simply: “I’ve got one for you: ‘Deja poo.’” ... I sat silent for a few counts, and he said, “It’s crap you think you’ve experienced before.”
Then, it dawned on me. Hendricks, as I figured he would, had taken a run at my word creation game. Of course, he started saying something about “sandalize” and the ineptitude of people who wear sandals all the time ... ahem ... so I hung up on him.
OK. So, if there are any other would-be wordsmiths out there, you have my permission to take a stab at this. Be forewarned, though: It’s addictive. And if anyone who claims they invented the concept tries to sue us, well, there’s safety in numbers.