Thursday, January 01, 2009

The e-mail as progenitor of an urban myth

A year & a half ago, I began a post "[this] arrived in my email after a couple of kangaroo hops, & being a word lover I couldn't resist........

The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition."

For some reason or other, I thought about the subject of the post again today, did the obligatory Google search, recovered lots of search results, spread across several years up to & including two days ago, many of which begin "the latest version of the WaPo's Mensa Invitational...."

But they're all the same set. It's the same e-mail, circling the world like some marine creature, coming up to breathe every so often, & cited when it's sighted. & the list has no connection with either Mensa or the Washington Post.

According to the Washington Post, "It still hasn't stopped: With mystifying regularity, we continue to receive (often passed through several mailboxes at The Post) unsolicited entries to what's sometimes called the "Mensa Invitational."

The reason for the e-mail's popularity—& perceived veracity—is that it's a genuinely funny list. Which is why I'm posting it again.

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

2. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

3. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund which lasts until you realize that it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

11. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

12. Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

13. Decafalon (n.): The gruelling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

15. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

16. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

17. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

18. Caterpallor (n.): the colour you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.


Blogger Nicholas Manning said...

amazing. at least 6 good poetry titles in there.

can i put first dibs on "Sarchasm"?


3:52 PM  

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