Wednesday, November 28, 2007

This post is brought to you by the letter U and by the shoddy service of Qwest

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For an explanation of this alphabet theme, see my first NaBloPoMo post.
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How many of these encyclopedia entries have I started with "[this letter] was going to be for [this], but now it's going to be for [this]"? Please, don't go back and count. I know I don't always need to share every tedious thought process of mine. Just be glad most of you don't know me in real life. I have a bad habit of telling people things I've already decided not to tell them there, too. I'm fun. Don't you wish you knew me? Sigh.

All of this is to say that I just considered scrapping the "U" entry I had in mind and instead going with "U is for Umbrage," in honor of the surly and awful woman I had the displeasure of speaking with about my Internet service bill this evening. I know that whole "the customer is always right" mantra is a bit trite, and service reps probably have a hundred snappy comebacks in response to it. But in this case, I am right!! And this woman works for a company whose very slogan is "Spirit of Service"! You'd think she could throw me a fucking bone. You call your credit card company to ask them to remove an unwarranted charge and they do it happily, nearly no questions asked. You call your Internet service provider and you're still stuck with the damn $18 extra you DO NOT OWE, and you're slapped with an extra year on your service contract because the yahoo who processed your order a year ago apparently entered it in the system wrong. Argh. Umbrage indeed.

I was going to try not to focus on the negative over here, though, so I'll try to put all seething aside and return to the "U" I had in mind. The problem is, I didn't really have a good "U" word in mind, so I went to the dictionary. (Is that cheating? I hope not. Because I'll probably be doing it on "X," too.)

Not a lot of "U" words are very meaningful to me, but the first one I stopped on and smiled at was Ubermensch. (Note: I do not know how to put the little dots over that "U" in Blogger, so just pretend there's an umlaut there, OK?)

Am I a Nietzsche devotee? No, not particularly. (That's actually my friend Carrie's department.) But Ubermensch is still a terribly fun word; is it not? Moreover, it reminds me of the brief phase a few friends and I went though several years ago when we enjoyed incorporating the prefix "uber-" as much as possible. "I am ubertired." "He is uberannoying." You get the idea, I'm sure.

For some reason, there is one instance of uber-ing that I remember the most. My friends Dale and Greg were visiting for the weekend, and we were discussing dinner plans. "Is anyone hungry yet?" "What are you in the mood for?" "How hungry are you?" That sort of thing. And Greg spoke up, straight-faced as usual, "Well, I'm not uberhungry..." Incidentally, Greg is never uberhungry. Dude eats like a bird. But it made us laugh anyway.

I'm also suddenly remembering another "U" word I once heard that thankfully didn't catch on. Remember Jimmy? The ex-boyfriend now responsible for at least 15 "pothead boyfriend"-related search engine hits on my blog each week? He had his own lexicon as well. You know how damn near every one of us squirms in disgust at the word "panties"? Well, thankfully, he didn't call them "panties." But the word he used was nearly as bad. Friends, he called them "unders." As in, "Are you going to take your unders off?" and "Oh, those are pretty unders!" I am sorry, but if I am in a situation where my "unders" are coming off, using a word like "unders" isn't likely to provoke the intended effect. A romantic he was not. But damn, I liked him anyway.

I could list plenty of other words known and used only by select people in my past. Friends always have their own unique language, right? Schmaegers. Digger. Nuggets.

What words do only you and your friends know?

12 comments:

steve said...

Along with the dreaded PANTIES, another word that makes me twitch is MOIST. Put the two together and I practically retch.

BTW, the ümlaüt kicks über ass. On a Mac, you type option-u to get it. On Windows, it's alt+0168.

Pam said...

Please tell me this Jimmy guy was British. Or had some kind of non-American accent. That's the only way I think I'd be able to survive hearing a man say "unders". Especially when mine were on display.

-R- said...

I know that my college friends and I had a few strange words, but of course I can't think of any examples. We went through an "uber" phase as well.

lizgwiz said...

I don't know that we had words so much as phrases. For a while, one of my friends (accidentally the first couple of times) started leaving off the subjects of the adjectives she was using to describe something--"Ooh, that's a pretty."--and we all did that for a time. "That's a cute." "That's an amazing." Lame, but it amused us.

BFF and I have our own sort of language when we IM each other. Instead of "LOL" or the equivalent, when we want to convey laughter we just wiggle our fingers on top of "home row." Comes out like this: as;ldfja;sldk

We also type "sc" each time we both type the same thought at the same time. (Happens a lot.) It started out "scary" and devolved to merely "sc." That one has carried over into our verbal conversations, as well, and is simply pronounced "skuh." We're weird. as;ldfj

Courtney said...

Hee, unders. That's pretty bad.

I would still prefer that over "panties," though.

Jess said...

I am actually in the process of writing an angry letter to my internet company because of very similar reasons. It's just such crap. They must make tons of money off billing "mistakes" because it's so impossible to get them corrected that most people just give up.

nancypearlwannabe said...

UNDERS???!!! I just threw up a little.

Lara said...

I cannot imagine hearing a man refer to them as "unders". Ew.

When I was in high school, this one guy started saying the "word" "Ste". Except the e has an accent over it. The dude was totally geeky, and yet it caught on and everyone started referring to things that were cool as "Ste". I felt like I was in the middle of Can't Buy Me Love when everyone dances like the African wahtever-it-was ritual.

Paisley said...

My family has some words that aren't really words, but us kids didn't really know it. I found out one word in we used was not a word on my VERY FIRST DATE with a boy I liked VERY VERY MUCH. In our family, when it is cold but not too cold, but crisp - we call it noogie. Like, "It's noogie out!"

I said this on my date. He looked at me in confusion. I was so mad at my mom.

:)

Whiskeymarie said...

I use the word "unders" often and with no apologies or remorse.
Unders, unders, unders...


My friends and I will often say:
"I think this__________is going to CHANGE MY LIFE."

Usually we are talking about things like sandwiches, lipstick, cookies, hair spray, scarves, you know- big stuff. I don't know where it came from or why we think it's funny, but we do. Every time.

L Sass said...

My BFF-NYC loves birds of prey. I know, it's weird. She loves them so much that we refer to them as "BOPs." A baby bird of prey? "B-BOP."

Stefanie said...

Steve--I mentioned that same combination of words here once, and I think I made everyone else retch, too. Yech. And Alt+0168? I am all about the keyboard shortcuts, but I do NOT fault myself for not knowing THAT one! (I also can't promise there's any chance I'll remember it!)

Pam--Nope. Not British. Born and raised in Wisconsin, just like me. I can't explain it.

R--I kept thinking of others after I posted that, too. Like, in the cafeteria, my friend Lori referred to people watching as "geeking." As in, "I'm geeking at that guy over there. What's his story?" Lori definitely had her own expansive lexicon.

Liz--Skuh? as;ldfj? I'm sorry; I don't think we can be friends anymore.
(I kid! I kid! You're a weirdo, but I still like you.)

Courtney--You're right; it is a tough call between those two, isn't it?

Jess--You know, I thought about writing a letter but figured there was no point. You have inspired me. I should do that.

NPW--I'm sorry.

Lara--OK, that is way dumber than Liz's fake word. Also, excellent "Can't Buy Me Love" reference.

Paisley--That reminds me of when I was in first grade and a girl in my class moved to Watertown, WI, and my parents told me that was neat because she'd be able to take a boat to school. I repeated that at school the next day, and everyone looked at me like I was insane (or just plain stupid). Stupid parents.

WM--Really?? I had no idea anyone else ever used that word. Also, I love the "CHANGE MY LIFE" phrase. Perhaps I'll start incorporating that myself. (Unders, though, you can keep.)

L Sass--Birds of prey? Like, the actual birds, or she likes saying that in reference to people or something? I'm confused.