A duty we have as human beings, I believe, is to contribute at least one completely original word to our respective primary languages.
Sure, the literary snobs will preach the sanctity of form and the virtues of purity … but, really, those guys never get laid.
Shakespeare certainly wasn’t afraid to make up some words,and judging by his contributions, he certainly didn’t have a problem with the ladies. In fact, many of the phrases we English-speaking folk use today come from Billy Shakes (click on the link of his namesake to the right for some fine examples).
Anyway, I use this backdrop to share a word I don’t talk about often … mostly because it’s difficult to express succinctly why it exists and what it means. I’m inspired by my visit with a childhood friend over the weekend in Miami.
Basically, my friend, Tommy, would visit South Carolina each summer from San Diego, and it was quite the culture shock. I remember one year he lived out here and in the eighth grade went to a country school. He found that “stoked,” “rad” and “dude” weren’t part of the lexicon of our fine backwoods comrades.
So, he began trying to fit in by using the word “bo.” You know, “Bo, did yew see the rack on theyat buck? If I’da hed ma shotgyun, I’da popped his eyass.”
There came a point when we had reached the latter years of high school when Tommy became conscious of the time he tried to fit in by using “Bo” as an acceptable preamble to a conversation.
In a random gesture of ridicule both at himself and the people who would ever lead him to speak in such unimaginative terms, he spoke the word, but adding to it for full effect of his disdain for that period in his life.
Phonetically, I suppose, it would be “bo-HINEY.” The “h” would be spoken with a harsh inflection as if a cat were coughing up a hair ball. Maybe a kind of Slavic sound or something. I don’t know (he did marry a Polish woman; so maybe it was a bit of clairvoyance of some sort).
I can’t express how funny this word is to us whenever we speak it. It’s one of those things, as he and I discussed over the past few days, that when you are a teenager, you can’t imagine that anyone else is as cool as the people you know and the friends you cling to.
But I can give you one more task once you speak the word: You must spell it.
One day when we were on the beach years ago, Tommy and I decided we should do just that. I figured that a word of such magnitude should employ ALL of the vowels of the English language … yes, even sometimes “y.”
So, in the sand I sketched “Bourhkheinay.”
And so it was. And so it became.
A new word that only two people use.
But a new word nonetheless.
Please, do your duty and bless the human race with a new word.
The more childish and innane, the better. Shakespeare would be proud.