Whether you've stumbled upon this blog by accident or were invited to read it, I hope you'll feel that it was a fortunate discovery...

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Adventures of...

My husband and I often talk about the superheroes that we would invent if we wrote comic books. For instance, I would have a comic book about 2 mild mannered fashion models who by day rule the catwalk, but by night become the superheroes Anorexia and Bulimia. Anorexia’s super power is her ability to suck the nutrition right out of the bad guy leaving him a skin and bones weakling barely able to walk, let alone fight back. Bulimia’s super power is acid vomit that she can shoot out with expert aim. She causes the bad guy to crumble into a weeping heap crying, “My eyes, my eyes!” The acid vomit can also eat through steel, handy when you’re chained up or you have a metal door blocking your exit.

Anyways, I’d never really thought about the super villains and archenemies that I would need to develop in order to have a true comic book story, but today I had an idea for one: Cyniclone the Disparager. This super villain has developed a technology that allows him to erase self-esteem from the human brain; leaving the victim in such self-doubt that they usually commit suicide or wind up in a mental institution. Cyniclone’s back-story is that of a genius on the brink of insanity. Working his way up in the fashion world, he had an extremely difficult time getting along with the super models and other designers. Eventually they kicked him out and blacklisted him throughout the community. This was the last straw, from here on out he would work to undermine the efforts of all up and coming fashion designers and models and he left no doubt about it; he would eventually come after the core designers and models that ruined his reputation. Shortly thereafter he happened upon the scientific work of Dr. Gehirn, a premier if not infamous doctor of neurology and psychology. Together they created “The Eliminator” the self-esteem eraser.

In an interesting twist, Cyniclone the Disparager is responsible for the creation of superheroes Anorexia and Bulimia. The girls were up and coming models both with such low self esteem that they had developed terrible eating disorders. Cyniclone kidnapped them in order to test out his prototype of The Eliminator, due to the fact that neither girl had any self esteem to begin with, the effects of The Eliminator were the opposite of what was intended. Both girls were endowed with superpowers, together they fought off their captors and escaped. Cyniclone and Dr. Gehirn went back into hiding to continue work on what they thought was a failed experiment, it would be years before they would discover what really happened and before they would all meet again as be continued.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

"Starring Dad, as Himself"

Every once in a while I see adverts for TV shows that I think will interest my dad and I try to tape them in order to send them to him for his viewing pleasure. Why do I do this? Because I know how much my dad treasures his facts on history, science, and did I mention history?

To help understand the types of shows I look for, you need to be acquainted with my dad. Lets just say I grew up in a household whose bathroom was stocked with Alan Eckert, Isaac Asimov, and Carl Sagan. As a rule dad would retreat to the bathroom for hours at a time to concentrate on his “reading” undisturbed. I remember once, while I was alone eating cantaloupe at the kitchen table, lovingly diced into fist-size pieces by my mother, I accidentally swallowed the chunk. Choking I ran to the bathroom door, unable to vocalize my dilemma, I banged on the door in desperation. My dad upset by the disruption angrily called out “WHADA YOU WANT?” Realizing there was no way I was going to pry him away from his reading I dropped to my knees in hopeless resignation. It was the jolt of that movement that dislodged the killer cantaloupe from my throat and saved my life. I found out very early how important my dad’s "knowledge-collection" time was to him. (Where was mom during all this? She may have been outside hanging wet laundry on the line, or off on errands. I cannot remember; loss of brain cells due to oxygen deprivation may account for this.) I guess in some way I’ve come to a peaceful acceptance of my dad’s need for knowledge. After all, it has come in handy through out the years: when working on crossword puzzles, doing homework, or playing trivia games. It’s indispensable almost; I mean what is life without being able to call up your dad to find out the significance the Battle of Blue Licks had on the American Revolution?

So my first attempt to record a show I thought my dad would like was inspired by an ad about the HBO mini series “Starring Pancho Villa, as Himself.” I thought my dad would enjoy a well-done biopic about this historical figure and the filming of the first war documentary. What I didn’t know at the time was that HBO has no language restrictions. When I went to screen the video for quality I was quite literally shocked speechless by the multitude of F-Bombs in less than 30 seconds of tape. Needless to say I had to record over that tape, and watch an episode of Barney and Friends just to clear my head.

Now I am proud to announce I have successfully recorded and will soon mail my dad a new and family friendly National Geographic Documentary on the settling of James Town. It wasn’t an easy life for the brave new worlders. They chose a bad time of century to settle, a terrible spot to search for gold, and unwittingly landed in the midst of the most powerful tribe of hostile Native Americans on the continent. It’s a fascinating story of survival and I have a good feeling that my dad is going to like it. The importance of which has life affirming effects on me, because as the memory of the cantaloupe fades, the value of the knowledge gained shines ever brighter.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Assimilation Station

“Follow your dreams,” “Reach for the stars,” “ The sky’s the limit,” inspiring? No way, I say it’s highly disappointing! Why are we inculcating our children with this drivel? When I was a little kid, because of words like that, I honestly thought I could do something “great” with my life. I could be rich and famous…or at least rich and kind of well-known…ok, rich and enigmatic. But certainly I would be doing exactly what I wanted to with my life. My plan was to be discovered by someone with a lot of time and money. This person would see my ‘artistic’ potential and want to privately fund my projects. Soon as my art became more popular others would commission me to do work for them. The scene would be ever changing, challenging and very lucrative. Of course I’d only work when I wanted to, so that I would also have time for volunteer work, reading, studying and teaching others to be just like me. And when I wasn’t traveling around the world, I would be living in the beach front home I designed and decorated by myself.

So yesterday I realized this dream was just a big joke, like ‘magic,’ Cracker Jack ‘prizes,’ and 'savings' accounts. What was I doing still harboring the feeling that maybe I was young enough to change my current course and actually make money doing something I love? After five years of working in a mind numbing, creativity draining, time consuming slave-like situation, my dreams of success have slipped away and been replaced by complacent cow-like thoughts of settling in my pasture for a good chew of the daily cud. Moo.

I think that the best way to describe my new attitude and that of the general work force is to look to Star Trek. If I had a nickel everytime I said that...
Ahh yes, the BORG, a hive mind composed of millions of other species that have been assimilated into it, becoming part mechanical and remaining only part organic. These BORG walk around zombie-like each doing a duty that benefits the hive as a whole. No individuals, just workers, working then re-energizing and working again. I feel much like a BORG; I get up, go to work and perform mechanically until I go home and re-energize in order to wake up and start over. (I picture myself looking like 7of 9, definately not Lecutis) After all, I’m not trying to be negative about my life or the life of the 8 billion other BORG’s out there; I’m just being realistic.

Of course some may feel these comments are more cynical than realistic. But the BORG cannot be cynical; this would not be in the best interests of the hive mind. If you think this is cynical then you haven’t gotten your head out of the clouds yet. You probably still talk in terms of “when I grow up, I’m going to…” I was you once, but your resolve will break. It’s inevitable. It is our purpose as BORG to find the dissidents and rapidly conform them. In fact rather than talking to our children about dreams and vain pursuits, give them the facts “You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.” In the long run the hive mind will thank you.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Eternal Infernal Question

I like to answer questions. It doesn’t matter if it’s a subject I’ve only heard of in passing or one that I’ve done vast amounts of research on, if you ask it I will answer. It’s a reflex.

That being said, I have found that as I’ve grown older, am meeting a more diverse group of people and especially since I have gotten married, my answers are becoming more often wrong than not. You’d think my humiliation from being proven wrong over and over again would hinder me from continuing to answer questions on subjects I know nothing about, and yet I persist. Why is it that I find myself so compelled to reply to questions no matter what their significance and despite whether or not I actually know the answer?

Well I just can’t leave that paragraph open ended. (Here we go again) In an effort to answer my own question, I am taking a trip back in time to try and find the root of this problem. I remember as a very young child asking many questions. My father an amazing resource of knowledge would patiently explain to my brother and I the actual scientific reasons behind why the sky is blue, or what makes a rainbow. Of course half way through these often hour-long discourses, my mind would impatiently wander off to something else, like cookies or kittens. But I digress, the reason I even mention this is because of the fact that my dad always had an answer for everything…of course he was also always right. I think part of my answering psychosis is due to the fact that as a child I grew up trying to emulate my parents (whether I liked it or not in some cases). In effect, my need to answer questions posed towards me or even just around me, could be a genetic disposition.

Moving into my tween years I recall that gaining acceptance was my main goal; as it is with most young people trying not to feel awkward in lanky bodies, acne, and late 80’s clothing. I reveled in the approval of my teachers when I successfully answered their questions in class. I loved the grateful accolades of classmates after I answered questions about their schoolwork. Yes I do believe answering questions was my “high” as a student.

Later in my early adulthood I found myself, dare I say, the more ‘cosmopolitan’ or at least the most experienced (a.k.a. oldest) of my girlfriends. This allowed me again to be the one to which questions were directed. Health, beauty and fitness were my forte, and just happened to be the hot topic of most girls in my circle.

“You don’t know what to do about those cramps? Well let me show you some acupressure, try these herbal remedies, take extra calcium. You want shinier hair? Try rinsing it in cold water after you are finished conditioning, it closes the cuticle making the shaft smoother and shinier.”

My friends ate this stuff up; my answers were golden. So when I, let’s say, went out on a limb, to answer questions for them that I didn’t have direct knowledge of, no one challenged me. Everything else I said was right, so if I made a comment to them about the medical necessity of a tonsillectomy, I must know what I was talking about. Of course there was one guy who called my bluff…

Shortly after I married him, I made the mistake of answering one of his rhetorically posed questions of a scientific nature. Baffled at first by my matter of fact reasonings on the subject he quickly realized I was firing blanks. “You have no idea what you’re talking about do you?”

“Well, I, uh…no I guess not” I sputtered, the wind knocked out of my sails.
“You do this a lot,” he mused.
“What do you mean?” I retorted, feeling a rush of hot blood to my face.
“Make stuff up off the top of your head and try to pass it off as the real thing.”

As you can imagine that sparked of one of our first arguments of epic proportions, of which I won, by crying, “You think I’m stupid, don’t you!” His attempts to make it up to me and make me feel smart again pacified me…but my behavior, the answering questions thing not the passive aggressive crying thing, has become a household joke of sorts (I say ‘of sorts’ because I am the only one allowed to joke about it).

Most recently I’ve met a new friend who seems to share my passion for answering questions despite actually knowing the answer. We discovered this after reaching a stalemate when arguing, er should I say, discussing opposite points on a technical subject. After about an hour we both finally broke down and confessed to the other that we didn’t know what the heck we were talking about. Now we’re careful to check with each other prior to getting worked up about anything. This works for us, but unfortunately it doesn’t solve my problem.

Maybe I shouldn’t fight this thing; maybe I should embrace it. I could market this power of mine, I could be an advice columnist. Of course I would have to stay true to form, which means I could do no research in order to answer the many questions my readers would pose. I would have to just make it up as I went along. My column would have to come with a disclaimer, “The answers posted here are not that of a professional, nor do they necessarily have any truth or substance. Any advice given should be taken only after consultation with a doctor and supervision by an adult with the ability to sense danger and dial 911 on command. Do not be upset if my answers make you even more unclear in your understanding of the subject, as they are only written to entertain. Do not be upset if these answers do not entertain you, as I can assure you they’ve entertained me and that’s really what I’m going for here.”

So a sample of the column might look like this:

Q: Dear Claire– I am allergic to cats. They make my eyes swell up and itch, my throat scratch and my nose run continuously. My family owns 2 house cats. I am miserable, but my family doesn’t want to part with the kitties. What can I do to relieve my symptoms?

Sniffles, PA

A: Dear Sniffles – I must start by stating the obvious, your family doesn’t love you very much. Alas, this is something you can’t change, unless you stop leaving your dirty underwear on the bathroom floor after you shower. But fortunately your cat allergy problem does have several answers; you could say there’s more than one way to skin this cat. HA! Jokes aside, I remember hearing once that bathing a cat regularly could reduce the dander it leaves around the home. Of course you have to get your cat accustomed to water. It’s best to do while the animal is still a kitten. This is because you can hold it down easier; as a rule cats don’t like water. This one time my parent’s had to flea dip our 20lbs. muscular full grown cat named Puffin. The cat was a good pet very loving and sociable, but not so keen on getting into the tub. So my dad had this great idea of putting the cat in an old plastic hamper with air vent holes on the side and a cover on the top. It was simple enough to put the good natured beast into the hamper, but the moment that cat sensed the water…I can see my dad fruitlessly grappling with the cover of the hamper as he is simultaneously trying to dip it into the water/flea dip. Do you remember as a kid wondering if real Tasmanian Devils actually spun like a tornado when they moved? I think they do, and my cat had learned to do this too. Chaos burst out of that hamper like steam from a teakettle; with the same high pitched squeal too. The washroom was alive with water splashing, my dad flailing and Puffin bouncing off the walls. Needless to say my dad didn’t get fleas that year. Back to the subject at hand, what you need to do is to try and wash your cats or at least watch someone else do it. If that kind of work isn’t your taste, you might want to invest in an air purifier, at least in your room. There is of course another option, I know a guy who might be able to snuff out your problem, if you get my gist. His name is Bartel, he’s an allergist and he’ll get you well in no time—Wha? Wha’d you think I was gonna say?

Q: Dear Claire– I am buying an anniversary band for my wife, and I was wondering what is the difference between Austrian Crystal and Cubic Zirconium?
Cheapster, MI

A: Dear Cheapster – Shame on you, please tell me that you are not going to try to pass off a fake sparkler to your wife as a real diamond! To answer your question Austrian crystal is made through a special technique of purifying and crystallizing glass. It is sought after in the beading industry because if it’s refractive qualities, in other words it’s really sparkly. Cubic Zirconium on the other hand is the laboratory’s answer to a real diamond. In an alchemistical way scientists have been able to devise a method to synthetically produce a ‘stone’ that in all ways mimics a diamond without actually being a diamond; high quality zirconium is nearly impossible to differentiate from low quality diamonds.

However before you go off and buy something, I want to encourage you to be honest with your wife about this ring. If you get something too big and try to pass it off as real, you are going to spark her curiosity. We’ve all seen the TV shows where the gal tries to insure her rock just to find out that it’s a fake, and the humiliation and anger nearly ends the relationship until they get into a misadventure that draws them close together again. Let me warn you, misadventures that draw two people closer together are harder to get into that you’d think, and often a lot more expensive! It will probably be cheaper all around if you just get her the real thing.

Q: Dear Claire– Would you care to comment on the “Rubber-Band” theory of universe expansion?

Sci-fi man

A: Dear Sci-fi – You must be talking about the theory that the universe is stretching out from a single point and eventually will snap back towards the center…you know what? No, I don’t want to comment on this subject. Oh my goodness, I’m cured! Cured I tell you; I have the power to say NO to answering a question. This is a milestone in my psychological development. Thank you Sci-fi man Thank you!

So there you have it my short lived career as a columnist foiled, but my trip out of crazy-town is one mile shorter. Now I just gotta make sure no one else asks me any stupid questions!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Kicking Your Own Ass - the Idiot's Guide to Success

I have decided to become a life coach. Yes, just for today you will get one free lesson from me as a tantalizing taste of what could be if you hire me or purchase my soon to be published book on getting your life together one step at a time called: “Kicking Your Own Ass – the Idiot’s Guide to Success”

Excerpt from my book:
Chapter One: Preparation – the Excuse of Losers
I’m assuming that since you’ve purchased this book to read you are either an idiot or someone who derives amusement from the training of idiots. Just so you know it doesn’t matter which category you fall into since this chapter pertains to everyone, because just about everyone needs a kick in the pants. And that’s okay; after all it really keeps my revenues up.

So let’s discuss the first obstacle that comes up in a person’s strive for success. To do so we must consider the following questions: How many times have you decided to start a project/diet/fitness plan/business and then find you’ve gotten yourself lost in the details of preparing for said mission? Do you often find yourself ‘starting’ but not finishing things because they’ve gotten too complicated? Do you find more fun in planning for something than the actual carrying out of the plan? If you’ve answered yes to the above questions than you have succumbed to the treacherous first obstacle.

This obstacle is Preparation. Preparation is supposed to be a simple concept, and if left that way it does not become a problem. However, it is YOUR problem, why? Because you don’t really know when enough is enough. You quickly overwhelm yourself with the idea that you must have all kinds of dominoes in place before you start building anything of substance. This is WRONG! Let me illustrate it to you by providing the examples of two very different men:

Case Study #1: Claude* and the fishing trip
Claude was an intelligent man who came to me with a troubled existence. It seems he just could not get his life together. When I asked him if he could narrow it down only 3 main problems in his life hindering him from making his goals, he answered, “It’s complicated…” He was obviously a man stuck in preparation mode. I had him perform the simple task of outlining the steps he would take to “teach someone to fish.” Here is what he wrote:

I would call the local Fish and Wildlife offices in order to determine the prime fishing locations in this person’s region and what type of fish we could expect to catch this area.
I would catalog this information on a map.
I would find out where we could pick up our fishing license
I would do research on each type of fish mentioned earlier and the best kind of bait to use in order to catch them
I would then see if I could find an internet blog or message board where I could contact locals to verify that my research was correct and possibly find out about secret fishing holes and/or types of bait.
I would map out the different fishing spots and their proximity to bait shops in the area.
I would buy the latest Fisherman’s Digest and see what models of fishing pole and fishing line were recommended as the latest and greatest and then go shopping for the equipment
I would look into buying a boat and outboard motor, if too expensive I would attempt to rent or borrow one in the near vicinity of the fishing spot.
I would study the cost benefit ratio of a fish detector and decide whether or not to buy one

And it went on like this for several more steps until he finally got to the teaching part; in all, he had listed about 50 steps before he was done. Reason suggests that with this much preparation a person will either decide it’s much too overwhelming and become discouraged, or get about half way through the steps and then tire out. Now lets compare poor Claude to my next subject:

Case Study #2 Mike* and the fishing trip
Mike is someone I’ve coached for several years now with great progress and prior to discharging him from my care I had him perform the same test as Claude. Here is Mike’s list:

I would get my fishing poles out and invite the person over.
I would teach the person how to cast.
Next I’d teach the person how to bait the hook
Finally I’d take the person to the nearest lake and tell them to cast into the lake. Hopefully we’d catch some fish.

The difference is night and day! Prior to my coaching Mike would have written something more like Claude. As far as who would be more successful at teaching someone to fish? Mike, of course, as he would be the only one of the two to actually get the job done. Claude as per usual would have ended up spending weeks in planning eventually scrapping the entire trip once he realized he couldn’t afford the time necessary to devote to his outlined task. As you can see the people that get things done are not the master planners of the universe, they are the people that keep things simple and are raring for the action of ‘doing’ not the preparation for ‘doing.’

In the next chapter we will examine obstacle number two: Fear - the Disease of the Unaccomplished

*Names have been changed.

If you would like to reserve an advanced copy of my book not yet in print, please send check or money order for $39.99 to the address below. To contact me about life coaching services email me at

Life Coach Services, Limited
123 Easy St.Upaie, ME 12345

Always be prepared.

A week ago I made up a list of 'things to say when you've been insulted' that I sent to a close friend I was endeavoring to cheer up. When I read them they always make me snicker to myself in a slightly mischievous way... I will probably never say any of these things, however, I feel it's important to prepare for the possibility. (BTW, dear friend, you know who you are, I hope you don't mind that I'm sharing the list with the world now, I feel like others should share in the slighty mischievious snickering) So here they are:
Sara’s Top Ten list of Comebacks After someone Insults you:
10. It’s people like you that make people like you look bad.
9. Sometimes you surprise me with your clever remarks, this is not one of those times.
8. Nice try but your insults are only as half as bad as your breath, next time re-prioritize.
7. No I don’t find you offensive, you’re far too insignificant to me.
6. I understand your feelings about me; if I were as pitiful as you I’d hate cool people like me too.
5. You know that was a really thoughtless thing to say, which is so like you!
4. If I had a nickel for every time I imagined your head blowing up, I’d be able to retire.
3. If I’m not mistaken, you meant to insult me…Wow you can’t do anything right, can you?
2. Aww, it’s so cute when you try belittling people like that in order to distract us from your own glaring flaws.
And the #1 thing to say:
Did I hear something? Sounds like the crazy train has come into the station…I’ve bought you a ticket you better hurry along or you might miss it.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Crazy Pop culture reference...grumble grumble

My husband and I have the reputation for plucking words or phrases we like out of pop-culture and integrating them into our vernacular. For the most part these gems are found in movies, music and of course TV commercials. For example: we enjoy using “I can’t Believe it’s not Butter” Spray. I put it on anything I would normally slather with butter, however, I just don’t have the patience to ask Isaac to pass me the “I can’t Believe it’s not Butter” Spray.

Would you?

So instead we’ve shortened it to Fabio. Oh yes, I know you remember the original “I can’t Believe it’s not Butter” commercials where the woman is fantasizing and into her day dream in strides the Romance-Novel-Cover-King: Fabio; bearing buns covered in golden “I can’t Believe it’s not Butter” spread…I meant fresh out of the oven buns, what were you thinking?” Anyways, his name sums up pretty much everything about the “I can’t Believe it’s not Butter” brand. After all its much easier to say, “Dear, pass me the Fabio,” don’t you think?

That brings me to an event this weekend in which we inducted a new item into our ‘Hall of Idioms... well it’s not a hall so much as a lobby or a room out back really, but I digress…In discussing our various problems (oh who am I kidding, we were talking about OTHER people’s problems) Isaac blurted out, “Eh, well maybe low self image is that guy’s El Guapo.” He continued, ”’for some, shyness may be an El Guapo. For others, lack of education may be an El Guapo. But for us, El Guapo is a large ugly man who wants to kill us!’” This busted me up, which was bad because I was driving. But I can’t stop using the phrase now. I know that some of you are laughing because you get it, and the rest of you are scratching your head quizzically. For those who don't understand I suggest you go rent The Three Amigos, and figure out what your El Guapo is.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Urban Kingdom

And now the Discovery Channel Presents Urban Kingdom:

The camera sweeps in to a room full of people…

Voice 1: “Notice here we have a group of what looks like friends and acquaintances talking…Lets see I’m getting a head count of three in this group nearest us.”

Voice 2: “Yes professor, in total however I think we have maybe 15 in this gathering room, they look as if they may be enjoying themselves.”

Voice 1: “You are right junior, this seems to be a social party of some sort. Oh goodness me! Did you see that? I think the youthful female in our little group of 3 here just caught the eye of that roaming female over yonder.”

Voice 2: “Yes sir! Did you notice how it caused the roaming female to immediately zone in on the group of three? I think she’s headed right for them and she looks pretty intense.”

Voice 1: “Indeed my boy, you can tell by the look on the youthful female’s face she’s sorry she got the attention of this ‘hungry’ roamer…In fact I believe I hear her making lame excuses to the other two about how she needs to leave the gathering.”

Voice 2: “I wonder why she’s not warning the other two. That roamer is closing in fast.”

Voice 1: “This is obviously a survival tactic. You see, if the other two can’t sense who’s coming the youthful female will use them as a bait of sorts, to…ah lets say, distract the roamer from trapping her before she can make her escape.”

Voice 2: “I don’t know, maybe I’m asking the obvious question professor, but what exactly is it about this roamer that so frightens the youthful female anyway?”

Voice 1: “You can’t tell? Ah well, as an experienced observer of human nature I can easily deduce from her mannerisms that this “roamer” as we are calling her is deceptively dangerous. You see, she preys on her own kind.”

Voice 2: “God no!”

Voice 1: “This is no joke. As we will observe, this roamer, once she has singled out one of the group she will engage them in a NEVER-ENDING conversation!”

Voice 2: “The Horror!”

Voice 1: “It’s true, this will be gruesome, in fact I’ve seen it drive perfectly normal looking people insane to the point that they’d pinch their own babies to tears just to have an excuse to walk away and attend to something different.”

Voice 2: “I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to seeing this, but wait what’s happening now?”

Voice 1: “Oh ha ha, Yes, it looks like our youthful female has dodged a bullet, her survival tactic has worked, she’s sacrificed her friend to the roamer. By her surprised and dismayed expression you can tell her friend was completely broadsided by that move. It’s truly amazing, within seconds she’s been overwhelmed by the roamer and is already fully engaged in the roamer’s conversational trap. What power.”

Voice 2: “And there goes our youthful female, slinking away out of sight.”

Voice 1: “Nature, my dear boy, I’ll never get tired of what it can teach us.”

Camera fades….

Ah yes, we’ve all at one or more times in our life been involved in the above scene. You’re enjoying yourself until…you see her; she catches your eye from across the room and immediately turns and starts walking in your direction. Horrified you try to look away but it’s too late she’s homed in on you like an owl on a mouse and she’s diving in for the kill. Immediately you start to make lame excuses to the group about how you have to leave in the next few minutes setting yourself up for quick escape, because you know that once she get here one of you is going to get trapped into a NEVER-ENDING CONVERSATION! You’re fortunate enough to have seen her early, the poor souls you were talking with are no longer your friends but rather you will use them as distractions, throwing them in front of the oncoming beast like lambs for the slaughter. You sigh to yourself in relief as she attacks the person on your right, but you step back, hands up, with a look of; “Sorry but like I told you I’ve gotta go,” on your face. Your friend’s eyes widen in horror as she realizes she’s being abandoned. You make your exit, walking away towards freedom, saddened but grateful to the miserable martyr who may very well have saved your sanity.

If some people are like planets and some people are like stars, the type of person I’m discussing today is like a Black Hole. Well, a conversational Black Hole. You dread getting sucked in every time you get too close.

It’s scary when you see someone pull up then ‘drop anchor’ by you to “talk” you know it’s not going to be a quick chat. But that’s what she does (it could be he or she, but in my case it’s a she.) The one thing you can count on is she’ll never talk with you, it’s always at you and it’s always about some drama she’s involved in. What’s worse is she’s reproduced and her demon spawn is off running around pretty much destroying all that’s in his path while she chatters on obliviously…and endlessly. Eventually you start backing away, thinking that it send her the hint. She doesn’t get it, or else thinks that my hint is, “Please follow me to my car we’ll have more privacy there to continue our lovely one-sided conversation.” I think I could actually get in my car, start it and drive off and she’d barely notice. Alas, I am just not that rude. I hope I don’t have to have a baby to in order to have something to pinch and thereby an excuse to leave: “Oh the baby’s tired, I’ve got to be going.”

Wordy the Wordsmither

Hi I am bored at work today. I am actually completely caught up and have nothing to do. Does this mean I should be asking around trying to find something meaningful to work on? Probably, but I’m not going to because would much rather discuss today’s topic: New Vocabulary words.
I’ve been thinking about many of the words that I’ve made up in my life, and how some of them sound quite convincing…almost like real words. I thought to myself, “Self, what’s in a word? After all are not words the means by which we convey ideas? And if by this token our listener understands what we are saying, than the words we have used, regardless of their occurrence - or lack there of - in the Oxford English Dictionary, are they not real words? If only momentarily? Of course they are!” I then realized I needed to stop talking to myself and take my medication.
All joking aside, making up credible vocabulary words is an art form and there are rules that should be followed. For instance, to start making up words you might try simply to combine two already existing words: Giant and enormous make Gianormous pronounced gi-nor-mus. However this method, in the wrong hands, can wreak havoc as well as become extremely annoying. I’m sure you all remember Rob Schneider’s office guy character from SNL. His verbal rut included combining the german word Meister (meaning master) with practically any word he could think of “the wordmeister, the typemeister, the writingmeister” aaaah, I am already annoyed; of course the tone in which these particular words are said can also contribute to the irritation level. So rule number one when combining two words: Use words with the same gist to emphasize the meaning of the new word, and do not be repetitive. (i.e. hugeormous, collosalormous, massivormous)
The second way new words can be devised is by adding a suffix. “Osity” is a good suffix, almost any word can use a bit of “osity “ to enhance it’s meaning. “The explosivosity of that movie overwhelmed me!” or, “Did you sense the sincereosity of that ‘thank you’?” There are other good suffixes, “ment,” “ology,” and “ism.” Of course rule number two must be followed, when working with suffixes; you cannot use more than one in a conversation. Overuse this method and you will likely loose all of your friends or if you haven’t any friends you may just get beaten up by your coworkers. After all the arrogantosity portrayed by the increasement in the size of your words will not automatically be attributed to your study of vocabology, but rather be accredited to your stupidism…See? No longer cute is it. A well chosen appropriately placed suffix will add spice to your conversation without sounding smarmy.
A third way to create new words is to recycle. Take an old word and assign it a new meaning. Remember when the US Postal Service workers all seemed to go berserk? Out of that chaos came the word postal meaning crazy. “Hey man, don’t go postal on me.” (No offence to those sane USPS workers out there.) Insulting people is the risk that you run when attaching a negative connotation to a word. At the same time, recycling is good for our vocabularic environment and should be done often. So rule number three is to reuse old material.
A final technique in creating new words is much trickier. In fact I can’t think of many examples. It’s the process of coming up with a combination of letters that are easy to pronounce and then assigning them meaning. The longevity of the word depends on its quality and its popularity. If you can’t get people to use and remember it, then it doesn’t stay a word. Children do this type of inventing quite easily, if not successfully, as they are not yet tied by the boundaries of rational thought. As a child I would come up with completely made-up words quite often. However I wasn’t a big ‘salesman’ of my words and many of them have been lost due to infrequency of use. At the age of about 5, I did come up with the word “Geener” – meaning slimy green gob. The only reason I still remember this word was the fact that it was sold to my first grade class through the wit of a dear friend by the name of Sarah Suzanne. This word caught on like wild fire with the boys in the class who reveled in its rich and meaningful definition. Their chasing games at recess quickly evolved into “get the geener.” It was a sensation for a full 4 quarters, almost a year, and to this day I have not matched that success. Musicians like children also have a way with synthesizing words. Due to the difficulty of rhyming, song writers have been inspired to create such masterpieces as, ramalama, shoowap, and fofanna. I am sure you can think of others. So the final rule to wordsmithing has several components; break free from rational thought, make sure your word rolls off the tongue, and sell it to the people.
In summary, when making new words avoid repetition, be tactful, reinvent and be creative. You are now equipped and armed - or should I say equarmed…(Nope, gotcha! That was just a test)…to carry out your wordcraft and share it with the world.