Saturday, November 3, 2007


I won't lie to you. I'm not as young as I used to be. In fact, two weeks ago I helped a good buddy of mine celebrate his 30th birthday (and by help, of course, I mean it was my responsibility to bring the beer bong and to make him believe that he was actually celebrating his 20th birthday). He was the first really close friend of mine to hit the big 3-0, which in the grand scheme of things means that I can't be all that far behind in terms of crossing that psychological threshold that supposedly propells us into middle-age... If you'll bear with me here, I need to go stick my head in the oven for awhile.

In any event, what this reluctant journey into true adulthood means is that I'm no longer privy to the kind of slang that may or may not have at one time or another made me feel a part of the day's youth. That adolescent vernacular used to define who I was in a lot of ways, and as the pages of the calendar continue to turn (with an increasingly alarming rapidity, I might add), I find myself further and further removed from the avant garde parlance of the present day.

There was a time when I used to be entrenched in the colloquial, helping to define and redifine the local dialect and jive. Today? Most people I know are talking about mortgage rates and wedding dates, and rather than being on the cusp of an etymological movement I feel as though I'm on the cusp of slipping a disc.

But fortunately, through the magic of the www, there are a number of avenues to plug the devoted wordsmith back into that previously dissipating world of the vernacular. And for my money, there is no better source on this earth than

Not only is this, hands down, one of the most entertaining sites in which to lose your curiously knowledge-thirsty self, but it can also be of the utmost value to your aging, increasingly-declining-into-a-state-of-social-lameness self.

For example, I have a good buddy who happens to be a highschool English teacher. And there was a time, not all that long ago, when he was one of the most cleverly quick-witted, undercover insult slingers on the planet. Of course, he was talking in an innovative and precocious adolescent dialect that would have been impossible for his superiors to discern, let alone reprimand him for; which is precisely why he could get away with announcing the occasional "rusty trombone" in music class, or asking a seemingly irrelevant and perplexing question about Abe Lincoln during a history presentation.

But today, the shoe is seemingly on the other foot. Because just as this friend of mine was once wise to the ways of the evolving street jargon of his day, he too is now surely befuddled by the verbal idiosyncracies of his fledgling students. But fear not, Richie. The next time one of your shit-disturbing peons who failed once again to read the third act of Henry IV, Part I snickeringly asks you how that chilli dog you had for lunch was, you'll be able to verbally pimp-hand his ass to the point that he cries like the whiny bitch he invariably is.

Some of my favourite definitions are for words we use in everday life. For example:

Life: A sexually-transmitted, terminal disease.

Some of the definitions are clever and poignant:

Slut: A woman with the morals of a man.

While others are simply clever:

Whore: A woman that sleeps with everyone but YOU!!!!!

There are words for things we could never think of names for:

Tramp Stamp: A tattoo above a woman's ass crack.

Words for which we never knew the true meaning:

Tosser: Literally, one who masturbates. Common usage typically refers to anyone of whom you have a low opinion.

And words for things we never thought we'd be:

Dotcomrade: An Internet acquaintance; someone you chat with but have never actually met.

There are words for things we never thought we'd see:

Hallowthanksmas: The period of time starting in late October and ending on New Year's Eve, so named for the commercial tendency to put up Christmas displays before Halloween. See also Christmahanukwanzakah

And words for things we didn't know could be:

Obeausity: The Theory that it would be easier to change our definition of beauty than to loose weight.

There are words for bad decisions:

Tatoo: A permanent reminder of a temporary feeling.
(The only thing better than this definition might be one of the accompanying photos)

And there are words for very bad decisions:

George Bush: (see photo)

There are words for things we invented:

Rock Show T-Shirt Rule: The rule which governs when it is acceptable to wear the T-shirt of the band up on stage. The rule is as follows:

You are NOT permitted to wear a T-shirt of the band performing on stage unless:

a) The T-shirt was purchased at a show which took place more than 20 years earlierand/or

b) The venue at which the T-shirt's show took place is no longer in existence (ex: Exhibition Stadium, The Boston Garden)and/or

c) You are at least 50 years of age and simply don't know any better

And words for things we'd like to invent:

DJ Eric Foreman: Legendary Toronto DJ who spins killer vinyl classics of the Rock and Motor City Soul variety into the wee hours of the debauchery-filled morning, often culminating in embarassingly inebriated sing-alongs and complaints from the neighbours.

But most of all, there are just words. A seemingly endless array of beautiful, educational, and entertaining words. Even if some (most) are vulgar, we are better educated, increasingly perceptive, additionally empathetic, and more articulate people for knowing them.

So educate yourself. It's easy, it's fun, and it's free. But please keep in mind that if you're looking for "official" definitions, you might be better off consulting with As an example of the highbrow/lowbrow dichotomy, you need look no further than each website's Word of the Day (of which I subscribe to both - it really is all about balance). I suggest comparing Oct. 29th for starters: vs.

Enjoy the etymology.

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