How many of you out there have phrases that you’ve made up? I know I do. I don’t mean just using a nonsense word in place of another one, I mean whole new concepts that you have developed a way to enunciate. There was a time when someone had to explain what a Cleveland Steamer was, but then someone came up with that phrase, thus saving a considerable amount of embarrassment to the sexually depraved. Well, my friends, family, and I have come up with a few, and I think it is about time they hit the mainstream. One of my goals in life is to get a word in the dictionary, but spawning a new phrase will work too.
Unicorn/Kill a Unicorn
Every now and then someone will come up with a great idea. Maybe it is an invention. Maybe the solution to a problem. Maybe it is just something to do on a Saturday. Whatever it is, if they are enthusiastic about it, it is a long shot, and it is fraught with flaws, that idea is a unicorn. If you are the one to point out the difficulties and holes in the idea, to the point that the one who came up with it dejectedly loses their enthusiasm, you have just killed the unicorn. I have done this more times than I care to admit. I am well on the path to unicorn genocide. It isn’t that I want to be the killer of dreams, it is just that I don’t like people to go “all in” on an idea that looks like a royal flush, but is really just a pair of threes. This is a phase that would do particularly well on the news. Picture those talking heads on FoxNews. “Obama’s healthcare plan is a unicorn, Diane. And also he is Hitler.”
If you have a large enough circle of friends, this one will come in handy. See, the more people you know, the more likely it is that two or more of the them will differ fundamentally on a firmly held belief. Religion is popular, but Console/OS preference, sports allegiance, and political orientation are all prime candidates. You get two of these people together, the topic invariably turns to one of the sensitive topics and, before long, a debate has gone well past friendly disagreement and is heading toward the intersection of Black Eye and Silent Treatment. When I saw that happening for the thousandth time between two friends… you know who you are… I decided that changing the subject to something innocuous was the best course of action. Enter pineapple. When I just start talking about pineapples out of nowhere, that’s your queue that the conversation is heading toward hurt feelings. Lately I just have to invoke the word, threatinging to “call pineapple,” and the message comes across. Many a day that could have ended in bad moods and four letter words has been saved by the prickly hawaiian fruit… There’s a gay joke in there somewhere, but I chose not to go there.
I am well aware that flaky is a word already. This is about my specific usage. As a matter of fact, I happen to know that loads of people use it this way, but it isn’t official, and I don’t know of anyone who has claimed it as their idea, so I’m just going to take credit. A person is flaky when they are not mindful of promises, obligations, or appointments, or more generally if they are simply unreliable. Ever have anyone offer to pick you up from the airport and fail to show? Flaky. Promise to do you a favor and keep moving it to the following week for, oh, say 12 years? Flaky. Leave the house two hours after they were supposed to arrive for a scheduled get together? Flaky. People aren’t the only things that can be flaky, either. My internet connection is pretty darn flaky, and my brother’s car was flaky too.
Punchy is a preexisting word too, but my brother introduced me to a usage that I feel fills a pretty handy gap in the language. Basically, punchy describes the altered state of mind that results from around 30-40 hours of consecutive wakefulness. Halfway between drunk and giddy, being punchy is the number one reason things seem funnier to me at 4 am. If your cat farts and you laugh nonstop for 45 minutes without drug or alcohol involvement, you are either punchy or my dad.
That’ll do it for this batch, but I’ve got other words and phrases I either made up or co-opted for a new use, so you can expect to see this again sometime in the future, no doubt. And as always, if you have a saying that you think should be put into circulation, drop us a line or leave a comment. Sure, no one ELSE has commented without being bribed, being related, or being a friend of the author, but that doesn’t mean YOU shouldn’t! Be a trend setter, people! Or don’t. I’ll still write these. See you next time!