So I made up two new words this week. You might think that in so announcing, I’m broadcasting my genius, my absolute trailblazing ways with the words. Right?
No. In yet another case of “I used to be smart, but since this very moment is the smartest I will ever be again in my lifetime, you’ll have to trust me on it, because WOW, I can truly be a dumbass, and it’s not likely to look up anytime soon. Ever.”
See Those Numbers?
Case in point: I completed The Library Book by Susan Orlean last night. Her book came highly recommended amid critical acclaim, and through some miracle, the wait time for one of my library’s copies was minimal. Feeling like I’d won the large-print version lottery (large print, BTW, is a sure-fire way to cut your wait time for any library hold but in this case was not done with intent, but with “Wow, apparently I can’t read small fonts on my phone anymore,” FURTHER demonstrating my cognitive decline, and actually the need for large print too), I began reading. I promptly fell asleep. Next night, read about four pages, zzzzzzzzzzz. Next night, the same. . .
My husband observed my lack of progress, inquiring if I actually liked the book. When I’m pulled in to a story, it’s a challenge to drag me out. As I obsess over music, so too can I with the written word. I remarked that I was having a hard time finding characters I liked. I met the protagonist right off, but hadn’t reconnected with her or felt a kinship with any characters really, so wasn’t feeling any emotional connection, despite the story being about libraries, books, library patrons, librarians, and the devastating 1986 fire at the Los Angeles Central Library–all of whom and which I find intriguing.
See, The Library Book is not a novel of historical fiction. It’s not a novel. The Dewey decimals along the spine should have been the first *ding ding ding* moment, but no. I floundered for a good four days before connecting the decimals. It’s history, you idiot. Once I reframed my approach to reading, I dug in. Four stars.
Of Teenagers and Zombies (Not to be used interchangeably)
A neologism is what you might think it is based on what you see if you have an inclination toward linguistics and the ancient Greeks: neo- (new) and -logos (word). I invented two new words, y’all! They’re considered neologisms until they’re widely used and accepted into common parlance and/or Urban Dictionary, whichever comes first probably.
Neologism is a speech path-y word to be sure, but it can be applied in the real world, so now your challenge is to work neologism into polite conversation at your next business meeting. Go! I actually do this with my co-workers–not using neologism, but when we are feeling a little full of ourselves or a touch sassy or annoyed, I challenge one of the girls to casually slide in a given word at our next meeting. Christine almost never disappoints, but then I have to stare at my feet until the urge to bust into a giggle fit and high five her passes.
OK, they’re not new words per se, rather each a portmanteau. Which in itself is another super cool, fancy word, isn’t it? A portmanteau typically combines both word sounds and meanings, like brunch, combining breakfast plus lunch, or Brangelina, combining, well. . . well, you know what makes up that one. Regretfully, Brangelina is the one that first sprang to mind. Anyway.
Broffection: bros + affection–At my son’s sleepover last week, he and his BFF exchanged sentiments of best friend-dom, as they have done since K4. My little one asserted that first grade was OK and all, but probably the worst grade because his BFF attended a different school that year. His BFF responded that he hopes they’ll be friends until high school or maybe even college. They sweetly retell the story of their meeting at least twice annually. Broffection.
Zombiance: zombies + ambiance–As we settled in to watch the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead last night, my husband turned off all the lights, proclaiming, “Ambiance.” Enough neurons fired at just the right speed, and I replied, “Zombiance” in an instant. Then I laughed too long and hard at how clever I thought I was, and forced my husband to agree I was an absolute hoot. Zombiance, yo. Too bad about Jesus though, huh??
You haven’t heard these before, have you? I hope you’ll agree that they work semantically and phonetically, and that you’ll think of me when you use them. You’re welcome, English language, you constantly evolving nut, you. And if I’m not as clever as I think I am and you’ve heard these before, it’s OK, I know I’m not quick like I used to be. Sometimes can’t even tell fact from fiction.