My husband Winslow has a colorful and highly refined vocabulary. He talks like he’s writing or lecturing at a university, without a care for whether or not anyone will know the units of language he uses. He often uses the words Schadenfreude, comeuppance, meme, memetic, fractal and metaphysical in casual conversation . Doesn’t matter who he is talking to - junior high schoolers, cab drivers, homeless people, telemarketers. He gives everyone equal credit in terms of their vocabulosity.
He also turns some clever phrases. Some of my favorites…
“Doesn’t matter a dead minister’s dick”. This one he uses a lot in a self-deprecating fashion. As in: "God that woman is pissing me off – demanding website changes at every hour of the day. But doesn’t matter how I feel. No no. Doesn’t matter a dead minister’s dick. I might as well get to it.” He often resigns himself to his place in the world with this calming phrase.
“I’ll show you!” This one always comes with fist in the air in mock defiance. He uses this utterance quite a bit of late, at least twice a day. He is knowingly and ironically portraying himself as a Ted Kazinski/Timothy McVey type; a crazy but misunderstood misanthrope with a genius streak and no qualms about blowing shit up in order to prove to people that they should have taken notice before things got ugly. But Winslow does it with a laugh – not of the psychopathic variety – rather of the ‘isn’t it funny I have some of the same inklings and characteristics as a crazy pyschopath but I’ll never follow through' sort.
“Sad-tastic”. I love this one. He applies it to situations that are painfully humiliating but wildly entertaining. Most of reality television. The women on Flavor of Love are sad-tastic. The Biggest Loser is sad-tastic. Fat people sweating and crying and puking as they stairmaster their way to not-so-fatness. Winslow is convinced the viewership is derived from those of us who are grateful to watch VERY fat people on TV because it makes us feel thin and beautiful. He sees it as NBC and 24 hour Fitness and Ziploc Bags and Jennie-O Turkey making money off the back fat of obese people and the Schadenfreude in the rest of us. Hence it’s sad-tasticism.
I enjoy the inspirational ‘anyone can do it with a little hard work’ message. I cry every season when the formerly and soon-to-be fat again top 3 finishers bust through the paper barrier on the stage with toothy grins slashing their faces which house heretofore unseen cheek bones. These newly thin contestants wear glamorous size 4 dresses and 32-inch waist pants. They pause as they stand next to cardboard cut outs nearly two times the width of their present frames, disturbing and unrecognizable apparitions from only five months earlier. They are weepy as they talk of changed lives and newly found health. The next season when they return to honor the new winners and have already let more than a few pounds creep back on, the viewer can see that within a year they could easily become contestants again. Sad-tastic!
“Les-b-friends”. This is the counter point to “frenemies”, now often used in the mainstream press. This makes Winslow crazy as he feels he invented not just the word but the concept of dueling female friend archetypes. About seven years ago, he began broadly espousing a theory that all women’s friends are either frenemies or les-b-friends. This was based on my small coterie of female compadres. Today, ‘frenemy’ is common parlance. It is a game on facebook, an entry in Wikipedia, has been used in the New York Times and on Oprah. Les-b-friends hasn’t caught on in the same way so I think he still has a shot at owning this one. The meaning is obvious. Women who are friends but in love with each other in a more romantic way. He’s convinced I have two and that when he passes, assuming he goes first, I’ll just move right in with one of them and finish out my life as an old gay lady in Dockers and Doc Martens. Les-b-friends.
“Fack-in’ and Crack-in’ ”. The first part is ebonics for ‘telling the truth’. Fact-ing. The “t” is conveniently left off so that rhyming with the second word is possible. The second word is old black lady lingo for joking, making a funny. When I reply to his “I’ll show you!” rant with a “I’d be scared but you’d never follow through” dismissal, he shakes his head with a “fack-in’ and crackin’” whisper and dejected resignation.
“It smells like a brontosaurus pooped in your mouth”. This is what he tells our kids before they’ve brushed their teeth in the morning. This kills with five year olds. My husband has a future career as a comedian for the under ten-year-old set.
“Night pooper”. This is the term of endearment for our oldest son, Virgil, at whom Winslow points an accusatory finger each evening at 7pm when he (Virgil, not Winslow) ceremoniously begins farting. (Winslow's farts start later - at the approximate time we climb into bed). Virgil refuses to admit he has to take a dump even though he’s surrounded by nearly visible clouds of feces vapor. At some point, Virgil usually slips out of sight and the putrid and powerful smell of man shit wafts into the living room. Still, Virgil won’t admit that the farting was linked to the poop he’s left clogging the bowl. “Night pooper” we all mutter as Virgil wedges himself between the pillows on the couch, digging his bony knees into my shoulder blade as we settle in for an hour of Iron Chef. The secret ingredient transformed into delicious artistry in Kitchen Stadium always smells like crap from the vantage point of our living room.
There are more. I’m not calling them to mind at the present moment. But Winslow's vocabulosity reigns supreme. It's part of the reason why I love him so.