Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Nance's Word Emporium

I love words. My favourite word of all time is EMPORIUM.

Say it with me now “EMM – POOR – EEE – UMM”.

Isn’t that amazing, don’t you just love how it spills out of your face and how enthusiastically your mouth has to participate in its formation as it gives equal attention to each syllable for the fullness of the word to be sounded? Dave Thomas and Andrea Martin really captured the essence of the word Emporium in their Tex and Edna Boil’s Prairie Warehouse and Curio Emporium commercials on SCTV where it was promised you could see Jojo the worlds’ largest prairie dog or Chuckie the baseball playing chicken “so just come on down to Tex and Edna Boils Prairie Warehouse and Curio Emporium”. You have to see their delivery to appreciate all that an Emporium offers. Emporiums holds promise of wonder, curiousity and fun hence the catchy movie title Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (which I haven’t seen yet).

However emporiums that don’t deliver are D&K’s. My husband and I coined this term when we entered into a store that promised delights inside, but really only delivered junk, and collectibles in mass quantities of the mundane sort found in flea markets. In considering whether a store is worth exploring if one of us utters the word D&K (I know it seems like 3 words, but it is really one) then it is understood that the answer is no. Just the spontaneous uttering of “D&K” as one passes by this or that store communicates volumes and saves a lot of time and debate.

In the mid to late 80’s comedian Rich Hall came up with the term Sniglets, “words that should appear in dictionaries but don’t”. He compiled a book of them. I think it is human nature to make up such words.

A neighbour came over one day to get some advice from my father regarding a serious concern he had about his daughter’s cat. Never having owned a cat before, in his lovely thick Irish accent Pat said with great distress, “I think my cat’s going mad, I’ve got to take her to the vet! She sucks on anything wool and marches on it the whole time. And the spookiest thing is that her eyes seem to roll back in her head and she drools while she does this.”
Dad in a calm manner said, “oh don’t worry she’s just GLUCKING”
“Glucking?” he asked.
“Yes, lots of cats do this. That’s what my kids call it. Just watch her throat and listen to the sound she makes – kind of like gluck, gluck, gluck. Your cat’s not crazy, she’s just glucking.
So now you know where the name comes from.

Cats also display a penchant for LEAPROSY - not to be confused with leprosy. One moment they are lazing around as only cats can and suddenly as if a bee has bitten their butt they jump up and like a creature possessed run around in fits and starts. This usually occurs at about the same time each day or night depending on your cat. In Maya’s case leaprosy hits just after we have gone to bed. She announces it with a brrrritt, brrritt sound (note this is her particular modus opperendai) followed by stampeding through the house, bashing things about along the way eventually pounding her little cat feet up the stairs, leaping onto my bed, running over my body, then catapulting herself (very appropriate for a cat to do) off of it to tear back downstairs again. An episode of leaprosy ends just as quickly as it begins - a sudden stop, and a look comes over their face like you get when you walk into a room and have forgotten just why you came in, followed with consolation bathing (for the cat, not us, though this would be a good idea).

We have a SPLURPING cow. This is a container for milk in the shape of a cow. Friends were visiting with their 2 year old daughter and we decided to have tea and cookies. Tamar, the daughter picked up the cow to pour milk into her cup while we adults were engaged in conversation and, yes you guessed it, the milk went everywhere but in the cup. Her little lower lip began to tremble, tears were welling in her dark brown eyes and Rod said, “Wow, you really splurped didn’t you.” The word sounding just like the event itself cracked her up and made her feel better about herself all at once. Splurp – so close to a burp another funny word.

FOODPA like faux pas expresses some sort of transgression around the presentation or manner of eating food that would be sneered at by the French, that’s a foodpa.

A Shiatsu client of mine was telling me her list of vitamins and remedies. “Yes, and I take vitamin B, ACIFLUFFALUS, calcium and magnesium...”
“Wait,” I put up my hand. “Whoa, go back a bit, “acifluffalus”?
“Yes, you know the stuff you take that promotes good bacteria.”
“Oh, you mean acidophilus.”
“Yes, that’s right…why, what did I say?”
We laughed when I told her. A young stressed mother of two very active boys, she had just that morning been watching SESAME STREET with her sons when there appeared the new character Aloysius Snuffleupagus. We agreed that since acifluffalus is something that the Snuffleupagus gets when he takes acidophilus this was not something that she could have ingested so it was more likely acidophilus that was taking.

And, just a few days ago, my sister while talking about someone she knew who had a circulation problem began to say “blaah” – had a brain fart in the middle - “artery”.
“Oh yes a BLARTERY I” I nodded knowingly without missing a beat.
And Candy continued talking. Then when what I said actually registered she began to smile. See, these new words do that, they delight and we both knew what we were talking about – a blocked artery aka a blartery.

So have an emporium of a day, not a D&K one filled with glucking, leaprotic cats; free of foodpas and splurpings not to mention acifluffalus and blarteries.

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