What do the following snippets of information suggest to you about me?
• I was a high-school English teacher
• I work in the media as a food and copy editor (See the Essentials magazine website for evidence http://goo.gl/krMD4k)
• I write a blog
• My bookcase (and life) is overflowing with books
What it tells you, is that I’m quite fond of words. Nay, strike that – I’m obsessed with words. And, when I say ‘obsessed’, I mean OB SESS SED. The Free Online Dictionary defines obsessed as ‘Having the mind excessively preoccupied with a single emotion or topic’. And that perfectly describes me and my words. Big words, little words, long words, short words, fat words, thin words, pretty words, ugly words, old words, new words – I love them all equally! Sometimes I’ll even put them together in little groups and carry them around all day (or even all week) in my head, repeating them softly to myself like a person suffering from schizophrenia (this particular symptom is known as verbal stereotypy – say it to yourself. I love it!). Other than that one symptom and talking to myself sometimes (often) and repeating things that people say (only when I like the way the word feels in my mouth), I don’t have any other symptoms. If you like playing with other people’s words try the blockword on Essentials magazine’s website.
I have a collection of words that I carry around with me that I pull out whenever I feel the urge to say something lovely. These are words and phrases I’ve heard over the years that make me chuckle or feel warm and fuzzy when I repeat them. Right at the top of my list at the moment is ‘one fatty mouse’. Kirsten, our managing editor, once bought a Chinese herbal slimming tea and when she read the fine print on the insert it said that the tea had been tested on (that’s right) one fatty mouse! So now I call Holly, my 16-month-old, (amongst other things) One Fatty Mouse. I hope she doesn’t develop a thing about her weight…
Yesterday I heard my editor, Kate describe throwing a tantrum as ‘chucking a tanty’ and now I’m in love with that phrase. I keep saying it to myself in my head. I’ve been using it in sentences to myself all day, for example, ‘If that person doesn’t email me now I’m going to chuck a tanty!’ Or ‘My coffee’s cold – I’m going to chuck a tanty.’
Friends was possibly the very best TV series ever made. Ever. There are so many classic lines from it but I’ve managed to narrow it down to my two most often repeated (at random times) phrases:
• The phalanges are broken – this phrase was spoken by Phoebe to Rachel when Phoebe was trying to stop her from getting on a plane. Now, every time I go on a plane (often when I get in my car too) I’ll mutter to myself (like a mad person), ‘The phalanges are broken’.
• Chanandler Bong – This is who Chandler Bing’s TV magazine is incorrectly addressed to.
And finally, my favourite one-liner from my favourite movie, Notting Hill, is ‘Never met her, never want to’ spoken by Tony about the Julia Roberts character when Hugh Grant tells his friends he’s turned down her request to love her. This I’ll say whenever someone asks me if I know so and so. For example:
Friend to me: ‘So you know Claire, that horrible witch I was telling you about?’
Me: ‘Never met her, never want to.’
And it’s not just English words and phrases I’m in love with. These are my favourite Afrikaans words:
• Pantoffel – Slipper
• Skoenlapper – Butterfly
• Spookasem – Candy floss (or cotton candy)
• Boemelaar – Hobo
So if you see or hear me wondering around muttering strange words and chuckling to myself I’m:
• Losing my marbles
• Delusional from lack of sleep
. Repeating tasty and tantalizing words to myself