Spot the Spurious. That is, Find the Fake.

1 Feb

by Roger White

 

Ah, my catatonic cohort, I know many of you have been waiting with bated breath (and yes, it’s bated breath; “baited breath” would involve halitosis of the earthworm variety) for the next installment of the Oldspouse Quasi-Periodic Spot the Bogus Story Contest, otherwise known among Oldspousifiles as the OQPSBSC. Well, wait no more, my addled adherents, for it’s time once again. I got chills. Gooseflesh. Exciting, huh? You got chills? OK, Gary, when you jump up and down like that, it bothers the people around you. I see you there.

 

If’n you don’t remember the rules, worry not. Just read the five (four, sir!) four news snippets below gathered by the crack Oldspouse staff from the five (four, sir!) four corners of the globe. One—and only one—of the stories is, how we say, counterfeit. False. Fake. Phony. Not on the level. Made up. Contrived. Bogus, as Mr. Spiccoli would say. The other three, believe it or else, are legit.

 

Be the first, third, or 74th person (we accept goldfish, too) to e-mail our Oldspouse staff demographer (roger.white@tasb.org) with the correct answer regarding which of these tales is purely fiction, and you win $3, yes 3 US dollars (one of which may even be an Eisenhower silver dollar) and a genuine Oldspouse-endorsed “Jesus Is Coming, Hide the Bong” bumper sticker. I’m not joking. This is my job.

 

OK, here goes. Spot the Bogus Story:

 

Story No. 1: The National Science Foundation (NSF) funded research to the tune of more than $500,000 to see how sick shrimp compare to healthy shrimp on a treadmill. Their conclusion—a half a million bucks later—was that the prawn feeling a tad puny didn’t perfBNPS.co.uk (01202 558833) Pic: Collect An experiment into fitness & illness involving a shrimp on a treadmill has become an unlikely internet hit after footage escaped from the laboratory of Prof David Scholnick.orm as well as their healthy counterparts. One of the head labcoat scientist persons explained that the experiments help humans better understand the effects of pollution on the little guys’ defenses and, thus, survival of the species. And since survival of the little shrimpies affects the seafood industry—namely, the makers of shrimp cocktail sauce—and thus has ramifications on the success or failure of countless dinner parties worldwide, then you can grasp the import.

 

Story No. 2: In another NSF-funded study, researchers spent 21 days—and about $330,000 of taxpayer dough—to determine if spouses are more prone to violence when they’re hungry. During the three-week study, 107 couples were given the opportunity, at various times, to shove pins into voodoo dolls that represented their significant others. The Captain Obvious conclusion? Spouses with low blood voodoosugar rammed more pins into their hubby/wife voodoo dolls than those same spouses when they were full. Jeez, give me 3 large, and I could have given you the same results. I’d include pie charts and everything.

 

Story No. 3: To celebrate National Arts and Humanities Month, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) funded—to the tune of just under $250,000—five New York artists for the purpose of making plaster casts of the buttocks of athletes from various sports. The artists made impressions of male and female athletes buttcastfrom basketball, baseball, football, track, hockey, volleyball, and swimming to compare musculature and definition. After viewing the exhibition at a Manhattan gallery, one NEA administrator quipped, “These are the bums of the gods.” What a bum deal.

 

Story No 4: Scientists recently appropriated approximately $300,000 of NSF grant money to study how humans ride bicycles. Really. The study, initiated to determine just how humans ride bikes, was created to determine if bicycle manufacturers could design bikes that would be more comfortable, more bobby bikeyaccessible, and easier to ride. The reasoning behind this study was that if bicycles were easier to ride, then more people would use them and would thus impact healthcare costs worldwide. Ride, captain, ride. Yeah.

 

Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely spouse, two precocious offspring units, a morbidly obese dachshund, and a cat with Epstein-Barr Syndrome. For further adventures, visit oldspouse.wordpress.com. Or not.

 

Think You’ve Seen It All? Well, You Haven’t.

19 Jan

by Roger White

 

Boy, it happens every time. Without fail, every time I throw my arms up in disgust and utter an exasperated “I’ve seen it all now,” something worse comes along to heave a brick upside the noggin of my jaded sensibilities and inform me that, no, I have not seen it all. Not. Even. Close.

 

Despite how ridiculously vile and frighteningly xenophobic as the foul-smelling arena of politics has become, no, I’m not talking about that. Politics parodies its own self so well these days that no comment is required. Except God help us all. No, what sparked yet another ISIAN (I’ve Seen It All Now) self-rebuke of late came from the one field of human endeavor that manages to run a close second to politics in its ability to horrify and nauseate: advertising.

 

Let me take you back. It wasn’t long ago, a matter of weeks perhaps, and the weather was rotten. So was my health. I had a stubborn chest cold. I’d settled myself down in front of the TV with a meal of my favorite comfort food: a hot bowl of split-pea soup, saltines, and iced tea. With a side of crispy baby gherkins. Awaiting me was an afternoon of recuperation with nourishing reruns of “The Andy Griffith Show” and “The Twilight Zone.” It was just the therapeutic Mukyprescription I needed. Suddenly, there on the screen, rudely interrupting my sick-day fare of Opie, Aunt Bee, Thelma Lou and Rod Serling, was a commercial for some cough medicine featuring an anthropomorphic glob of mucus. That’s right. A walking, talking sickly-green lump of phlegm with stumpy, phlegmy arms and legs.

 

I don’t have to tell you that half of my bowl of hot split-pea soup with saltines went cold and uneaten. The gherkins didn’t go down so well, either.

 

If you watch any television, you, too, have probably seen this chubby little humanoid snotball (no, not Trump—this is about advertising, remember?). Are they serious? These cough medicine moguls are hawking their health-restoring elixir with a revolting ball of human effluence, presumably nicknamed Muky the Mucus Man?

 

Can you just picture these marketing geniuses at deadline time?

“Joe, you got anything?”

“No. I’m empty.”

“Bob? Anything?”

“I dunno. How ’bout a talking loogie?”

“Okay, that’s good. We’re just about out of time. Let’s go with it.”

 

And yeah, when I saw this slimy, gloppy bit of Madison Avenue creativity, my arms reached skyward, and I uttered forth: “I’ve seen it all now.”

 

And yet again, it wasn’t long after that that my latest ISIAN declaration was roundly rejected. Just when I thought that advertising types could sink no lower, the next week I was introduced to a pink little anthropomorphic bladder. It was gotta peean ad for bladder control medicine, and in it this adorable roundish little bladder walks along holding hands with its owner, constantly reminding her that she has to pee. Wait, there’s more. On the same day, on the same channel, came an ad featuring an adorable pink little walking knot of intestines. Really. This creepy duodenum dude, who I can only guess is called Barry Bowels or something, is the mascot for an Irritable Bowel Syndrome medication. Yes, Intestine Man is the best they could conjure.

 

Never in my most delirious fever dreams have I ever envisioned my bowels as a funny-faced little pink dude—and in all candor, I shudder to imagine what my lower innards would look like with a face and limbs. Especially my innards.

Inty

Gak. What’s next? A cutesy brown cartoon poop named Danny Doody concocted as a stool softener mascot? A cuddly little mouth ulcer called Herpey Harry designed to sell cold sore cream? An anthropomorphic little mascot called Limpy the Member used to sell erectile dysfunction pills?

 

Boy, I’ve seen it all. No, wait. I’m quite certain that I haven’t.

 

Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely spouse, two precocious offspring units, a morbidly obese dachshund, and a cat with Epstein-Barr Syndrome. For further adventures, visit oldspouse.wordpress.com. Or not.

 

Prine Was Right: Blow Up Your TV

4 Jan

by Roger White

 

“Blow up your TV, throw away your paper,

Go to the country, build you a home…”

—from “Spanish Pipedream,” by John Prine

 

I work for an education association, whose ebb and flow of timelines, lull seasons, and get-it-done-yesterday crunch times generally follows the public schools calendar. This does not mean I get the whole summer off or that I have to take some sort of final exams every semester. But it does mean I get a nice chunk of time off during the Christmas break. Or should I say Holiday Break, or Winter Break, to be properly PC. But if I say “Winter Break,” then I’m accused of waging war on Christmas—whatever that is—by the anti-war-on-Christmas people, whoever they are. Seems there are an inordinate number of highly sensitive, easily offended, extremely angry subgroups of people out there these days, and almost any topic—from eating a hamburger to wearing a headscarf to saying “bless you” when somebody sneezes—is now an emotional mine field of potential hurt feelings and mob-mentality retribution.

reallyFor example, overheard at a local Wal-Mart recently:

“Dammit, Zebulon, these friggin’ Moslems is takin’ over the place. Look over thar, in home improvement. Dang scarf-wearin’ terrurist jee-haddys…”

“Yeah, I here ya, Jebediah. Hey, Zeke! Lee Roy! We got us a … wait, that’s my mom in the scarf. She didn’t want nobody to see her curlers.”

“Oh. Well. That’s awright, I guess.”

But while we’re on the subject, wouldn’t the term “Winter Break” be considered offensive to those folks who deem autumn as their favorite season? We have Spring Break; we have Summer Break; and now with the newly christened “Winter Break” we are kicking poor, unloved autumn to the curb, aren’t we? We have no “Fall Break.” I’m pissed off! This is War on Fall! Anti-Autumn Armageddon! I’m organizing a protest! Where’s Fox News?

OK, wait. Once again, I digress. Anyway, yes, so this lovely fortnight of vacation I get every, uh, late December allows me the blessed opportunity to back away from the grind. To sit in the backyard with a fire in the fire pit, a warm drink in hand, and nothing on my mind but determining how to get the (insert your preferred holiday here) boxes down from the attic without upsetting the raccoon family that has taken up permanent residence up there.

I have found that during this heavenly lull I tend to watch less news on TV and scarcely come near the computer, which is where I usually receive my daily dose of terror, misery, innuendo, and fear-mongering via CNN and other websites.

And despite the season’s family dramas, gift-hunting mayhem, and traffic gridlock gnashing of teeth—not to mention the annual overdose of turkey, libations, and too much party silliness—I find that my anxiety level and blood pressure go way down. Two weeks without Trump, Cruz, Clinton, terrorist plots for world overthrow, Planned Parenthood bombings, Dow Jones doom and gloom, the affluenza teen, Bill Cosby revelations, and viral cat-in-the-microwave stories tend to hit me like a soft pillow in the face. The crap the media spews at us 24/7 isn’t our world.

And all you have to do is turn it off. You can blow it up, if you’ve a mind, but just hitting the “off” button will suffice. Aaah. That’s nice.

So why take only a (insert your preferred holiday here) break from the muck and the madness? I was never much on New Year’s resolutions, but I believe I have one for 2016: Less CNN, Trump, Hannity, msnbc, Fox, and all those “World’s Most Extreme Terrible Things” shows—and more backyard reflection. More walks, more friends, more board games. If you still have the old Aggravation board game gathering cobwebs in the closet, pull it out, dust it off, and get the kids around. It’s fun.

Don’t have Aggravation? OK, Monopoly then. Just try to ignore the fact that Monopoly is based on properties in Atlantic City, New Jersey, a town practically owned by…you know who. I’m tellin’ ya, if that candy-haired blowhard gets anywhere near the White House, I’m moving the family to…

Time out. Breathe. Forget Monopoly. Stick with Aggravation. Or the backyard fire pit. Aaah, there we go.

aggravation

Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious offspring, a very obese but mannerful dachshund, and a cat with Epstein-Barr. For further adventures, visit oldspouse.wordpress.com. Or not.

 

It Could Have Easily Been ‘The Old, Rugged Noose’

14 Dec

by Roger White

 

Leave it to the creative mind of Gene Roddenberry to send me into yet another mental wormhole. And I warn you from the outset, this particular “thought experiment” may be potentially upsetting to the less open-minded, strenuously dogmatic, sense-of-humor-challenged, and/or excessively pious of you. You’ve been warned.

Curled up on the comfy couch watching an episode of Roddenberry’s original “Star Trek” series recently, I was thrown quite unceremoniously into a fit of conceptual conniptions by a particular scene from the 1968 episode entitled “Bread and Circuses.” My TV-watching fare of Shiner, Fritos, and . . . er, certain aromatic herbal nourishment may have contributed significantly to the wormhole process, but I digress.

This Trek episode, in which Captain Kirk and crew are forced to fight in gladiatorial games on a planet where a modern-day Roman Empire rules the land, juxtaposes the culture, garb, and traditions of ancient Rome with Caesar Packing Heatcontemporary technology. Hence, you have emperors, senators, and proconsul types handing down edicts over loudspeakers and gladiator contests broadcast over network television.

However, the scene that shoved me down my own little space-time porthole of pontification was the one in which Kirk and company are captured by Roman guards wielding submachine guns. Woah. (And this episode came out in ’68, mind you—two years before Andrew Lloyd Webber armed his Romans with automatic weapons in Jesus Christ Superstar.)

Anyway. That’s when it hit me: What if the Romans—our ancient Romans—had possessed such technology? Of course, the mind reels with infinite possibilities (like what if Spartacus had had access to F-14 Tomcat air cover). But what I became fixated on was the impact on Christianity—not the religion as a whole, mind you, but merely the symbolism involved.

You see, the universally recognized metaphor for the Christian faith is, of course, the cross. Why? Because that’s how Jesus was put to death; the sign of the cross symbolizes His victory over death. But what if crucifixion hadn’t been the means of execution for the Roman Empire? What if, for example, electrocution had da chairbeen the execution method du jour? Think about it. Gold necklaces worn by faithful folks around the globe would have little electric chairs dangling at the end.

Or what if execution of criminals had been accomplished by hanging, for instance? Nuns far and wide, instead of making the symbol of the cross when they prayed, would arch their necks at severe angles and pull on imaginary nooses to display their piety.

Or consider lethal injection. Churches from Brownsville to Bozeman, instead of featuring outsized crosses on their steeples, would display great hypodermic needles to call the faithful to worship.

OK, wait! Hold it. Wait a minute. Put the pitchforks down. Douse the torches. I’m not demeaning Christianity by any means. I’m not poking fun. I was raised Southern Baptist, for crying out loud, by a God-fearing momma in the heart of the Lone Star State, here in the belt buckle of the Bible Belt. All I’m doing is saying “what if.” In an alternate universe somewhere just east of Andromeda, who’s to say one of these scenarios isn’t playing out this very microsecond?

Who’s to say that on an alternate Earth right this minute Alternate-Earth Christians aren’t gathered in their houses of worship singing their praises thusly: the noose“At the chair, at the chair, where I first saw the light…” Or maybe country-and-western singers on Ganymede are paying homage this very moment to “The Old, Rugged Noose.”

And consider traditional sayings and adages. “It’s not my cross to bear” on Europa might be more along the lines of “It’s not my chair to sit in”— or “It’s not my chamber to enter.” Whatev.

No! No, please, put the garden tools down! I’m just saying “what if,” that’s all! It’s just a thought bubble!

I gotta quit doing Shiner and Fritos with “Star Trek” so late at night.

 

Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious offspring, a very obese but mannerful dachshund, and a cat with Epstein-Barr. For further adventures, visit oldspouse.wordpress.com. Or not.

 

Help Steer Michael to His ‘Off the Grid’ Dream

1 Dec

by Roger White

 

When I was a young lad (translation: Kennedy Administration), I had dreams of living off the grid when I grew up. I don’t think “off the grid” was even a term then, but I had visions of a simple, cozy existence. My fantasy was to buy a small Quonset hut or used airplane hangar, refurbish it with shag carpet, cedar paneling, and black lights, grow fat tomatoes and skinny goats out back, and write Mickey Spillane crime novels for a living.

quonset home

Although none of the above came to pass (well, I do have the black light), I was recently taken back to those dreamy days by the daring brainstorm of one young Michael Talley. Michael’s going to live in a bus.

Talley, son of Austin musician Woot Talley, cobbled together $2,400 in April to buy a used Austin ISD school bus at public auction. Even though he was the sole bidder to show up and give the buses the once-over before the auction, he almost lost out. “I was the only one to go examine the buses at the open house,” said the 24-year-old Talley. “They auctioned 10 buses, and one man bought the other nine—and tried to buy this one, as well.”

Talley held his own, however, and came away from the auction the proud owner of a 1997 International 3800 full-length yellow school bus, mileage approximately 200,000—give or take a few rural routes. The auctioneer claimed it was gently driven only to and from school by a little old lady who never pushed it above 25 miles per hour. OK, I made up that last part.

For Talley, the auction was the easy part. “Oh, I’ve worked on it after work and on weekends since May,” he said, “but I picked the worst year to do something like this, with all the ridiculous weather Central Texas has been having.”

Though Talley has tall plans for a total makeover inside and out of this 72-passenger behemoth, his first order of business—after removing every one of the seats—was to raise the roof. Literally. Talley, just like his talented dad, is what you’d call not short. As in 6’ 6”. As soon as he brought the bus home, it hit him. Literally. “I couldn’t stand up.”

187d. Bus Photo 2

So Talley recruited a few friends to build a scaffolding rig inside the bus, cut the bus in half, and employ leveling jacks to extend the ceiling. “We raised the roof nearly 18 inches,” he said. “It took four guys, but in the end it wasn’t as difficult as you would think. The hardest part was the sleepless nights leading up to it, worrying about all the things that could go wrong.”

So far so good. But the kid’s got a long way to go. I asked him what he envisioned as the finished product. The Talley Transporter (my name, not his—more on this later) will include, and I quote, “a 27-inch iMac, 24-inch external monitor, home entertainment system, spacious kitchen, shower, composting toilet, heating/AC system, manual washing machine, water purification system, onboard 50-gallon fresh-water storage tank, cedar interiors, hardwood floors, and LED lighting.”

187f. Michael the ManTalley spent a lot of time studying ultra-compact living spaces, and he’s keen on avoiding the pitfalls. “Most people who design a tiny house try to take advantage of every nook and cranny, often resulting in a very cramped living space,” he said. “I wanted my bus to feel more open, so my kitchen is larger than most tiny-house kitchens. My bathroom isn’t as cramped—and by sacrificing a dining table, I was able to accomplish all of that, as well as install a large desk in my workspace.”

Will there be a generator for power, I queried? Nope. Talley, a graphic designer by trade, envisions “a 720-watt solar system, with state-of-the-art 3,000-watt/50-amp inverter/charger system, and six six-volt rechargeable batteries.” Aha! No noisy generator required. “This is key,” Talley stressed. “If I invest in this system, then I’ll save lots of money down the road by avoiding costly hookup fees at RV parks and state parks.”

And speaking of money, this is where you, the gentle reader, may come in. The labor Talley can do; he’s a strong, ambitious sort. The dinero, however, is another story. Talley, like most twenty-somethings, pretty much lives paycheck to paycheck, and his ambition of living in his magic bus won’t run on play money. He figures he needs about $4,760 to finish the job. You can take a look at his progress at www.gofundme.com/TalleyBus. If you want to help out, by all means. For a $10 donation, you can be an honorary bus passenger; for $20, you’re a crossing guard—for $100, you’re a driver! Actually, the soft-spoken Talley will take any amount that can send him a little farther down to road to his dream. He’ll even reciprocate with graphic design work, if you’d like.

Talley may be young, but he’s no dilettante dreamer. He’s dedicated to seeing this through. In fact, he’s living in the bus shell now. It’s parked on a small farm in Manor. “I got rid of all my belongings, with the exception of my books and my records,” he said. “I want to explore the country and explore myself. Read all those books I own that I keep telling myself I’ll get around to, maybe learn a few new skills, hike every day.”

Talley noted that everyone—well, almost everyone—around him has given him tremendous assistance and encouragement. “My family has been super supportive; my friends think it’s great. My girlfriend at the time wasn’t too keen on the whole idea, though. Living in a school bus certainly isn’t for everyone.”

Oh, and about the name. Does the magic bus have a name? “Ahhh, not yet,” he said. “For a donation of $1,000, I’ll name her whatever you want, though.” There you go. Pony up, and you can be immortalized as the namesake of a sweet-looking homemade RV with state-of-the-art composting toilet. Keep the dream alive, Michael!

Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely female spouse, two precocious offspring units, a very obese dachshund, and a cat with Epstein-Barr. For further adventures, visit oldspouse.wordpress.com. Or not.

 

 187e. Bus 3D Model

OK, Cowpokes, Time for the Fifth Biennial OFPhC

16 Nov

by Roger White

 

I know what half of you are saying: You’re saying, “Well, there it is. He’s run out of material again. Despite the ridiculous wealth of silliness, brain-scrambling absurdities, and downright knuckle-dragging stupidity in today’s world, the Spouseman can’t think of one funny thing to say in this installment. He’s washed up, burned out, run dry, come up empty, on fumes, bit the dust, hit the wall, thrown in the towel, given up the ghost, run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible—in other words, he’s kaput.”

 

And the other half, in a rejoicing and ebullient tone, are exclaiming, “Huzzah! The Great and Glorious Spousemaster has heard our pleas and decided to favor us with yet another of his brilliant contests! Another opportunity for mind-expanding fun, mirthful frivolity, and a chance for free stuff! What a kind, thoughtful, and oh-so-creative wordsmith we have in our midst!”

 

And yet the third half of you are still scratching your pants and wondering just what in the hell “run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible” really means. Well, that takes some doing, but here goes: The term to “join the choir invisible” is George Eliot sort ofin reference to the poem penned by George Eliot in 1867 entitled “O May I Join the Choir Invisible” in which the author longs for the afterlife in which he can spend eternity singing hymns “whose music is the gladness of the world.” To be precise, however, George Eliot was the nom de plume of poet Mary Ann Evans (1819-1880), who used a male pen name to ensure that her works would be taken seriously, seeing as how female authors of Evans’ time were stereotyped as writing only lighthearted romances.

 

Now, to be even more precise, this term “join the choir invisible” was referenced in a Monty Python skit entitled “Dead Parrot Sketch” (originally aired 7 December 1969) in which John Cleese wishes to return a Norwegian Blue parrot he purchased
Hello POLLYfrom Michael Palin because the unfortunate bird is “bleeding demised, passed on, no more, ceased to be, expired and gone to meet its maker—a late parrot!” Despite Palin’s assurances that the poor parrot is merely “pining for the fjords,” it’s quite obvious this is an ex-parrot.

 

Anyway. For the second half of you, leaning forward in your La-Z-Boys with anticipation, be comforted, for here I bring you the Fifth Biennial Oldspouse Familiar Phrase Contest (OFPhC). For the first and third halves of you, feel free to skip over to Mike Jasper’s column. He usually has coupons for free beer at Boomerz for those who read to the end. And yes, I have received yet another supply of premium glossy bumper stickers as prizes. For those too young, old, sensible, or deciduous to remember, the OFPhC involves a pile of phrases, quotes, movie lines, book titles, common sayings, utterances, and/or bodily function noises that I’ve rendered in a somewhat obscure manner. Your job, should you decide to accept it, is to come up with the more common version of said utterances. For example, say I give you the phrase “Croaking before disgrace!” You say, “Death before dishonor!” Get it? See how easy?

 

First three people (I will accept dogs and possums, too) to respond at roger.white@tasb.org with the correct answers each wins a premium glossy bumper sticker (sorry, the “Keep Oak Hill Obtuse” ones are all gone—you get “Jesus is Coming. Hide the Bong”). And you get your name in the newspaper! Pseudonyms are fine.

Exciting, huh?

 

OK, ready and. Go. What are the more well-known versions of these sayings:

  1. In my dad’s home, there are lots of ritzy estates.
  2. You’re not anything except a canine used primarily for tracking.
  3. Birthed Untamed.
  4. A brain is an awful item to throw away.
  5. If glares could commit homicide.
  6. Cease the printing machines!
  7. Blood-pumping muscle to blood-pumping muscle.
  8. Nancy!These cowboy shoes are manufactured for treading.
  9. Subsistence of those in the best physical shape.
  10. Escort me out to the baseball contest.
  11. The evidence is within the dessert.
  12. An opening in 748 divided by 748.
  13. Squatting on the summit of the earth.
  14. Existence is a female dog.
  15. The lively Irish dance is not down.
  16. Four letters after T denotes the location.
  17. I’m as satisfied as a liquid party refreshment.
  18. Here we circumnavigate the perimeter of the plant bearing mulberries.
  19. Twelve a.m. cowpoke.
  20. She spews expletives with as much proficiency as a member of the navy.

 

Roger White is a freelance cowpoke living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely female spouse, two precocious offspring units, a very obese dachshund, and a cat with Epstein-Barr. For further adventures, visit oldspouse.wordpress.com. Or not.

 

I Give You Sniglets for the New Age

2 Nov

by Roger White

 

Remember sniglets? You have to be at least kind of ancient if you do. Sniglets, the brainchild of 1980s comedian Rich Hall, were simply described as “words that don’t appear in the dictionary but should.” They’re concocted terms used to define everyday phenomena—usually petty annoyances or ridiculous inanities of life that we all experience but don’t think about enough to actually attach a real word or phrase to them. Like backspackle, which is, of course, the ah the spacklemarkings and smudges on the back of one’s shirt from riding a fenderless bicycle. Or giraffiti, which is vandalism spray-painted very, very high. Or one of my personal faves: slopweaver, which is someone who has mastered the art of repositioning the food on his or her plate to give the appearance of having consumed a good portion of it. Teens are marvelously adept slopweavers.

I started pondering sniglets the other day at work when, for the umpteenth time (is “umpteenth” a sniglet?), one of the little protective rubber coverings on my stereo’s earbuds came off in my ear and I didn’t notice—until a coworker pointed out to me that it looked like I had a cockroach nesting in my left ear.

Ah ha. There should be a word for that, I thought. And then, as I pondered sniglet possibilities for my plight, it hit me that we need a whole new crop of sniglets for the 21st century. So, herewith, I give you a jumping-off point of Sniglets for the New Age. These are just sniglet proposals, mind you. I think Rich Hall or somebody has to officially bless them in a ritualistic sneremony or something for them to become official. And as always, I welcome your snig-gestions:

  • Burst Responder: a person who blurts out a response to someone who’s talking on their cellphone because the responder thought the person was talking to them.
  • Adcenta Previa: those frustrating ads placed in front of the youtube video you want to watch.
  • Spellhole: the maddening state you find yourself in when your mobile device keeps insisting on correcting your text spelling when you don’t want it to.
  • Asdfjkrunge: the collection of food crumbs, bits of dust, cuticle washy washytrimmings, and other tiny specks of detritus you have to empty out of your computer keyboard from time to time.
  • Coughartle: the noise made, particularly by cube-environment workers, when trying to mask the sound of passing gas.
  • Tootretort: snarky comment or question posed by annoyed coworker who knows damn good and well that somebody just coughartled. Example: “Is there a gas leak?” or “Did somebody burn the popcorn again?”
  • Textnesia: that troublesome realization that you forgot who or what you were texting in the middle of text conversation.
  • Cell Squeenge: when two people in a cellphone conversation attempt to talk at the same time and end up hearing nothing and saying, “Hello? Hello? Are you still there?”
  • Vinylstalgia: a baby boomer’s angst at the lack of albums and old-fashioned record stores in today’s world.
  • Illoleracy: the absolute dearth of language skills shown by today’s teens and young adults who have been raised on “lol, ur kiddin, rofl, brb…” etc.
  • Faceplant: when you share a post on Facebook that your friend received 102 likes on, and you end up with three likes—and two of those are from you and your mom.
  • Proselyposting: the annoying habit of some Facebookers to hallelujahcontinually post how much they love Jesus/God/Yaweh/Allah/The Dude/Eric Clapton and that if you love Him/Her/Them also you must “like” and “share” or you’re going to Hell/Lake of Fire/Perdition/The Abyss/Cleveland.
  • Screenscramble: that moment when your boss suddenly pops into your cubie, and you have to frantically pull up a document on your computer screen to make it appear as if you’re working and not farting around on youtube.
  • Budplug: I almost forgot. This is what I came up with for that tiny rubber earbud covering that gets stubbornly stuck in your ear without your knowledge.

 

Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious offspring, a very obese but mannerful dachshund, and a cat with Epstein-Barr. For further adventures, visit oldspouse.wordpress.com. Or not.

 

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