Saturday, April 22, 2017

Fun With Words -- Part VIII

Language is organic and forever mutating. Years ago, after Spielberg’s big shark movie came out, a woman I worked with went to Hawaii. When she returned, a co-worker, young single mom, struggling, had never been out of town, asked her, “Did you see any Jaws when you were there?”
I loved that. “Jaws” is a better description than “Shark”. Language reflects cultural developments, evolution, or decline.
Words also take on new meaning; “gay” doesn’t necessarily mean “joyful”, “awesome” no longer means “awesome”.
Sometimes there are no definitions for our thoughts, our feelings, certain sensations. We attempt to describe what we experience but we have to settle for inaccuracies. Close, but not exact. It’s what writers deal with and some of us take pleasure in experimenting with new devices for narrative precision.
The new words are called “Neologisms”. I do it all the time.
This morning, while in the grocery store, I was standing in the produce department and I smelled something that was gross. I looked around and couldn’t identify the source. It was a cross between rotting flesh, body odor, and celery. I had no word for the smell or how it made me feel so I cleared my mind and let the first thing I thought of become the definition for that odor.
Swear to God. I was delighted. Ivanka. That is the name I have given to that particular scent of decaying flesh, BO, vegetables, and now when I encounter it on public transportation or in a 12-step meeting I have a way of labeling it.
You see where I’m going.
You know that feeling you get just before you vomit when you’re all clammy and green, taking deep breaths, salivating, know full well that soon you will puke?
“Dude was ready to hurl and he was pencing like mad. It was awesome.”
A not-very-smart guy with all kinds of money finds himself in a position of extraordinary power, realizes that no one likes him but they are afraid to criticize him, has no friends and his family will never disagree with him and he becomes childish and vengeful and suspicious?
What, you had another one?
These are my words. Make up your own.

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