Thursday, May 28, 2009

Who Knew There Was a Word for THAT?

So, I was Googling around the other day - as I so often do to feed my need for learning about all things weird, wacky, and/or wonderful - and did a search for "funny words." I found some great ones and wish to share, so that you, too, can bulk up your vocabulary. Enjoy!

Hobbledehoy - an awkward, gawky youngster existing somewhere between a man and a boy. Ten points anyone who can find the word describing the female version of this. (Though we females are, in general, a graceful and sophisticated lot, there are those among us - ahem - who harbor a particular fondness for some well-delivered potty humor.)

Borborygmus - the sound of a belly that rumbles. As in, "Jaime's ever-louder borborygmus told his dad he'd better get that mac-n-cheese on the table - and quick."

Pogontrophy - the cultivation of a beard. As in, "Gerald Ottenbein gazed dejectedly at his reflection. His first-ever attempt at pogontrophy was not going at all well."

Tittle - the dot above the letter "i." Really? Who thinks up these things?

Callipygian - having a beautifully shaped behind, as in, "Persistent visits to the gym can help one to attain the callipygian ideal." I'm just not even gonna touch this one...

Defenestration - a noun meaning the throwing of a person or thing out a window. Yes, a person or thing. A friend and regular reader of this blog called my attention to, where you can read all about a sculpture on the corner of 6th and Howard Street in San Francisco that shows defenestration in action (with things, though, not people). Very interesting, and worth a click - or a real live visit, if you're able.

And the final entry for today:

Floccinaucinihilipilification* - the act of judging something to be worthless. As in, "I find her floccinaucinihilipilification of the pursuit of social status quite refreshing."  According to Wikipedia, floccinaucinihilipilification is listed as "one of the longest words in the English language." And believe it or not, floccinaucinihilipilification can be found in the Oxford English Dictionary as far back as 1741. 

*You know, it's quite fun typing floccinaucinihilipilification. I even tried spelling it with only one "c," to see if Spell Check really has this ridiculously long word in its arsenal, or if my repeated typing of floccinaucinihilipilification just forced it into such a major conniption that it imploded, leaving not so much as a wisp of smoke behind. 

Guess what? Floccinaucinihilipilification is actually in there. 


Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Consequences of Childhood Insecurities

I am five feet, nine inches tall. If I were a guy, that would be considered on the short side. Since I'm not a guy, I'm considered to be on the tall side, and have been so since elementary school. Well, except for my junior high years, when the other girls caught up to me for a while. (The junior high years. They're such an anomoly. I wish I could have just skipped them altogether...)

Anyway, if you, too, were on the tall side growing up, you - like me - had to wear floods far more often than your fragile psyche approved of. (You know, floods: pants that were most unfashionably several inches higher than the tops of your shoes.) I was so relieved when the early 80's rolled around, and it became the "it" thing in our school to wear funky striped socks with jeans rolled clear up to our knees. And when the legwarmer-with-jeans thing came into style, well, it was a beautiful thing. In fact, I think capris were invented by tall people who endured the ridicule of having to wear floods during their formative years. 

So, ever since I started making my own way in the world, I've made sure that every single pair of pants I buy comes clear down to the tops of my shoes. And if they actually drag the ground some...even better. And when laundry days come, I stretch every single pair of pants as long as I can every time they come out of the washer, then hang them on a rack to dry. It is the ultimate in flood insurance.

Which brings me to this morning. It's rainy here on the East Coast. Really, really, really rainy. So I pulled on my comfy, well-worn, and impressively long walking-to-the-bus-stop sweatpants, and the kiddos and I dutifully dodged puddles and tiptoed through the minefield of worms that cover the road between home and bus stop. Then I dutifully picked my way back through the puddles and worms as I headed back home. 

As soon as I got in the door, I kicked off my shoes and headed downstairs to grapple yet again with The Little White Insulting Box. After firing everything up, I walked back to stand on the Wii Fit board and looked down for a moment to steel myself against another round of insults, and...


What is that?

Well, it seems that fabulously long, flood-insured pants actually do have a bit of a downside: there on the carpet wriggled a very bewildered worm that unwittingly hitched a ride inside Chez Wheedleton courtesy of the hem of my ground-dragging pants.

And I don't care. I will never wear floods again.

Bring it on, worms!