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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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Of Hot Tubs & Casinos — and TV, Of Course

5 Aug

by Roger White

Well, we finally got our dinky little first-generation hot tub working again. Hot dog! And I do mean hot dog. Sitting in a hot tub in August is a bit peculiar. And embarrassing. OK, it’s downright dumb. It’s been over a year since the wheezing old water-swirler showed any signs of life, and I must tell you, if you own a hot tub and you let it go stagnant and broken for, oh, about a year—for God’s sake, DON’T LOOK UNDER THE COVER!

It took five and a half days, but the county folks in hazmat suits got the tub and surrounding area cleaned up quite adequately. Some of the aquatic life the nice gentlemen pulled from the tub they shipped to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts for further study. The whole back yard smelled like old bananas and dead carp all weekend.

Anyway, the fine/jail time from the county was pretty reasonable! I didn’t know they had any ordinances on residential outdoor bathing facility sanitation. We can’t have guests or small children in the tub for six months, and then only after what they call “day-of” inspections. These guys are strict.

Note to self: Next time the hot tub goes on the fritz and you don’t plan on fixing it right away, kindly drain it. Sheesh.

I kid. The county folks didn’t come out in hazmat suits. My wife and I wore the hazmat suits.

Seriously, after all the cash and time and more cash getting the watery money pit working again, the wife and I eyed each other and wondered why we did this in the dead of summer. I suspect this winter we’ll fix our homemade ice cream churn.

But, all in all, last weekend was not bad. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give it a 7 3/8ths, which is pretty darn exemplary in my book. You see, with the wife and girls out shopping, as I lay fallow on the couch praying for anything better than “World’s Most Daring” on TV, there it was, opening credits rolling: Casino.

Oh, yes. Casino. If that’s not one of your top 10 all-time action/gangster/ Vegas movies, then I’m sorry, you are stupid. Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT anti-stupid. Some of my best friends are the stupidest people I’ve ever met. And ugly! Wait a minute. My point was, ooooh, Casino. DeNiro, and Pesci, and Stone, and the dumb cowboy hick columnist who played the dumb cowboy hick slot machine boss. Don Rickles, even! Casino is probably the best movie in the world for movies that say f*#! more than 100 times. I would lay money on that.

This got me thinking. I started pondering what a killer concept it would be to have Casino versions of other shows. Let’s see, for example, “The Dick Van Dyke Show”:

“Oh, Rob!”

“Shut the f*#! up, you capri-pant-wearing muthah…”

Or “Gilligan’s Island”:

“Wait a minute, little buddy. What’s the gun for?”

“What do you mean, what’s the gun for, you fat f*#!. Now I know why you wanted bottom bunk, you mutha….”

“But little buddy—”

“Put the stone-carved bowling ball down, Skipper. I got the gun. You be nice. Don’t f*#! up in here.”

OK, maybe not. But I must say that just when I became utterly convinced that we now live in the most pathetic, tripe-ridden era of “television entertainment” (oxymoron!), my daughters showed me how to get Netflix through our video gaming system. I have absolutely no idea how this works, but it works. Now I can watch “Twilight Zone” or “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”—two of the best shows ever produced—any old time I want. I can even pick the episode! Like the one where Telly Savalas is the mean stepdad, and the new doll his stepdaughter buys tells him she’s going to kill him. Classic. Or the one… oh, never mind.

(The previous paragraph brought to you by Netflix. Writer of the previous paragraph is not a columnist but plays one on TV and has been duly compensated. Previous paragraph was performed on a closed course with professional stunt writers. Do not attempt at home.)

Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a very fat dachshund, and a self-absorbed cat. For further adventures, visit oldspouse.wordpress.com.