As perhaps many of you have noticed, I sort of have my own way with the English language. I've spent the time to study it from a grammatical-structure point of view - not unlike how programmers would study a computer language - and I feel I have a very good grasp of the way it works: its nuances, its subtleties, its internal logic. As a result, when given an option, I choose the construction that I believe best fits that logic. For example, I tend to mix United States and United Kingdom versions of English, using whatever I think works better. I put all my non-quoted punctuation outside of quotation marks, but keep the U.S. single-/double-quote convention. Actually, I believe punctuation shouldn't be left to performing double duty, so when I'm quoting something that naturally calls for a period at its end, and my own sentence also ends there, I add another period outside the quotes.
But that's not quite what I'm here to type about. With the curious view I have of the language and the way it's used, I often find myself in the position of coining new words and/or redefining old ones, so that I can accurately express what I'm trying to say. You may have already noticed my gender-neutral pronouns; I had to devise the name of my fear; I invented the phrase "orthogonally radiant" for a set of puzzle instructions and just assumed readers would figure it out. I also find myself frequently privy to a bevy of inside jokes, which also spawn their own curious verbiage. Well, I figured it would be a decent idea to provide a glossary to explicate this varied terminology, especially since it gives me an excuse to use it here in the future and have something to point to if I'm misinterpreted:
- bite the wax tadpole: Fail; fare poorly. The origin of that phrase is no secret, so I won't repeat it here. I find it hilariously euphemistic; as a 29½-year-old hopeful virgin with only one manner of sexual experience involving a partner [Denotation], the whole shift from "this bites" to "this sucks" in the late nineties didn't sit well with me, and using this phrase instead is my protest. Please, think of the nerds that never got the chance!
- Bullshit!: Bestowed as a badge of honor upon those displaying great skill. There's a story behind this one. I was in Ryan Family Amusements one day a few years ago, going to play Zero Gunner; for those of you who haven't been there, it's a two-floor video arcade. The second-floor area is fairly small. Zero Gunner was on the second floor, and at the time there were only two others on that floor, the two playing each other at Marvel Vs. Capcom 2. It was shortly after I reached the boss of the second stage that I heard "Bullshit." behind me, from the direction of the other game. A few seconds later, right after dodging a massive wave of bullets from the enemy boss, I hear an even louder "BULLshit!". I figured something fascinating was going on over there, and perhaps I would have asked about it later, except that after the next wave of fire passes by my chopper harmlessly, I hear "BULLSHIT!!" again. I guessed it couldn't have been a coincidence, and sure enough it wasn't: after finishing off the boss shortly thereafter, I turned around to discover that one of the two men had been watching me all that time. "How did you dodge all that?", he asked me. ...I told that story to a few people, but one of them was barryr. Silly me. I still haven't heard the end of it. But then, I still find it funny, so...
- buttwumpus: I get asked about this one a lot, but I've never really provided much of a definition. It's more readily described than defined. I'm not even sure where I originally got the term - I think I may have invented it. I've certainly warped its usage to my ends if nothing else. Anyway, a buttwumpus is a person or other anthropomorphizable entity for which if a behavorial study were to take place, it could be concluded that sitting on es ass and not doing a bloody thing would be es primary motivation. Maybe you know someone like this - always around the social circle, but never participating. I'm not talking about the excessively shy or clinically depressed - I'm talking about those with no excuse other than laziness. They think anything and everything fun takes too much effort - that sums it up quite nicely. Buttwumpuses - or is it 'buttwumpi'? - have a unique term all their own: "Naahaidohwanna.", which is always spoken as its own sentence and indeed often as its own syllable. They have been known to frequent coffee houses, park benches, and university gaming club offices.
Those are just a few terms that promptly come to mind; it is mere coincidence that they all start with 'b'. I will likely reinvoke this topic later, which may or may not proceed in alphabetical order. The comments box is officially open - perhaps those who know me personally can remind me of some other terms I can define later; perhaps all of you can think of some of your own you'd like to share with the class. - ZM
P.S.: My next puzzle, Block Party, should be arriving some random time this weekend.