A Lighter View…‘Slanguage’

July 1, 1993

Ever felt like you’d been abducted by a UFO and dropped back off on the wrong planet? Well, today I had one of those “X-File” moments.

By all appearances, we looked like your typical American family sitting around the dinner table eating our Moo Goo Gaipan out of cardboard boxes with sporks. But then things got weird. The kids decided to have a meaningful conversation with us. Now I’m not a language expert, but I’m pretty sure the children were speaking Martian.

Morry complained he was the only kid living in a “big hair house” who didn’t have a “third screen.” Leo responded by telling his brother to shut up (I knew that phrase). Morry shot back that Leo was a mouse potato. Leo vehemently denied the potato charge by claiming he’d spent the entire day walking through a gerbil tube to buy some cockroach killers at a big box.

My husband was visibly upset and he demanded to know how long we’ve had a gerbil. Before he could ask about the cockroach infestation, I locked eyes with him and circled my ear with my finger. After carefully analyzing my movements, he decided I was signaling, “Hey look, there’s a hole on this side of my head, too,” and started checking his ears. My only comfort was in knowing that this was normal behavior for us, which meant I hadn’t been abducted by aliens after all.

I realize each generation has their own phrases to express themselves, and I’ve tried to keep up with the changes. Why, in just this past year I’ve added: embedded journalist, regime change, axis of evil, weapons of mass destruction, and shock and awe to my vocabulary. But lately, the only things I understood coming out of my kids’ mouths were burps. So Morry and Leo offered to write down their “slanguage.” Now if you’re like me, a clueless parent stumbling into the 21st century, you need to study this list.

• Aquadextrous: The ability to turn the bathtub faucet on and off with your toes.

• Big hair house: An enormous house that has grown too big for its lot due to numerous additions.

• Third screen: A video screen on a cell phone.

• Digeratti: People who send you annoying pictures from their video phone.

• Mouse potato: Someone who spends all his or her time on the computer.

• Jettiquette: Proper behavior on an airplane.

• Dopelar effect: The tendency for dumb ideas to seem smarter when you come at them rapidly.

• Pupkus: The moist residue left on a window after a dog presses its nose to it.

• Swiped Out: An ATM card that doesn’t work because the magnetic strip is worn away from over-use.

• Yuppie Food Coupons: $20 bills from an ATM.

• Low-cal: Southern California.

• The big dog: The best at something.

• Bling bling: Shiny, flashy jewelry or money.

• Minesweeper: A car that rips past you when you’re speeding and fills you with the reassuring feeling that the cops will go after that guy instead of ticketing you.

• Nomesayne: “Know what I’m saying?”

• Glazing: Sleeping with your eyes open.

• Frisbeterian: Someone who religiously spends Sunday afternoons teaching his dog to catch Frisbees.

•Burgacide: When a hamburger can’t take any more torture and hurls itself through the grill into the coals.

• LAN party: Dragging a computer to your buddy’s house and using it to talk with your friends who are sitting across the room.

• Cheddarhead: A saint from Wisconsin who enjoys wearing blaze orange jumpsuits and giant cheese hats.

• Zipperhead: A person with a closed mind; not a person from Wisconsin.

• NASCAR experience: Anything covered with bumper stickers or logos … once again, not a person from Wisconsin.

• Gerbil tube: A glass-enclosed walkway that connects two buildings.

• Exit delayed or fifth-year senior: This means cancel the graduation party.

• Accordionated: The ability to drive and fold a road map at the same time.

• Mandatory field trip: Being sent to the principal’s office.

• Alpha Geek: Someone who knows more about computers than just turning them on.

• Cockroach killers: Boots or shoes with big, pointed toes.

• Mode confusion: Forgetting where you left your car in the parking lot.

• Clicks and brick: A retail store that also sells items online.

• Bozone: The air surrounding certain people that stops bright ideas from penetrating.

• Generica: Fast food restaurants, strip malls, and sub-divisions seen in every town.

• Boo Yah: Completely awesome.

• Underload syndrome: Depression brought on by lack of anything to do.

• Celebrity: A person with an IQ 37 percent higher than a lab rat.

• Grays on trays: Your parents on snowboards.

• Q-tip: What I was before I started dying my hair.

I don’t know about you, but I feel smarter already. Boo Yah!

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