Tuesday, April 6, 2010

see mj write: day 6 {whatever tickles your fancy}

i have a secret: i like to make up words.

really. completely new, thought-up-by-me words. and then i like to use them in every day conversation. most have never caught on and people just stare at me when i try, but there's one i'm considering for entry into merriam-webster's latest edition.

it's become a household word in our family. my mom uses it and all of my siblings use it. ryan even uses it occasionally. i say it all the time. i might have even used it here in cyberspace without realizing it. so as to not leave you in the dark wondering, "what in the world did maren just say?" i thought i'd let you in on it:


"what does it mean?" you ask. to answer that question, we're going to have to travel back in time to my sophomore health class in high school.

the year is 1997. it was a new school year. a new school, for that matter. i remember wondering who would be in all of my classes and what teachers i would have. as i've mentioned before, i was {kind of} a nerd in high school. i worried about getting to class on time and got sick to my stomach if an assignment was returned with anything less than the first letter of the alphabet scrawled across the top. teachers liked me. well, most teachers liked me.

deb. did. not.

i'm not sure what i ever did to deb to make her not like me, but whatever it was, you could just tell i wasn't on her good side. and, of all teachers, i landed in her sophomore year health class. i wasn't about to let it get me down. i had a few friends in the class with me and we sat together in the back corner. we weren't extremely disruptive, but we were known to chat and have a good time.

one day, deb was at the chalkboard and, as a class, we were discussing emotions. you know, happy, sad, afraid, excited. as each emotion was introduced, deb asked for synonyms. happy: cheerful, glad, delighted, merry, joyful, and on and on. sad: down, gloomy, dismal, forlorn, glum, low, melancholy, etc., etc. scared: afraid, um, um, um...silence.

for some reason, the classroom full of 15 and 16 year olds couldn't think of what deb thought was an adequate amount of synonyms for scared. that's when whitney and i decided to make one up. deb wasn't going to let it go, so we strung together a few sounds and came up with alagonchy. al. a. gon. chy.

we raised our hands and gave her our answer.

"oh." said deb. "i've heard that before. what does it mean?"

"uh, scared of afraid" i replied. {isn't that what we were synonym-ing???}

"right." she replied. "i've heard of that. nice word!"

it was at that point whitney and i got a little nervous. was it really a word? did it mean something we weren't aware of? if deb had heard the word before, it had to mean something. she was a high school teacher, after all. so i went home and checked my trusty copy of webster's dictionary. nothing. i even tried to spell it a few different ways. nada. zilch. zippo.

deb was such a liar! she didn't want to admit she didn't know the meaning of a word one of her students "knew" about, so she feigned an increase in her own knowledge to make it look like she knew what we were talking about. only, we didn't even know what we were talking about!

this, obviously, was quite entertaining to me and whitney...and we decided we would use alagonchy in health class for the remainder of the semester. we'd fit it in wherever we could. guys, i'm not a trouble maker, but this gave me such a thrill. it was hilarious to watch deb's mind reel each time we used it.

for example:

maren and/or whitney: "deb, i'm a little alagonchy for the midterm exam next week. do you think we could have a class review today?"
deb: "alagonchy. what does that mean again?"
maren and/or whitney: "oh, sorry. it means scared or afraid."
deb: "oh, right. of course we can review today."

and so on and so on.

alagonchy became so commonplace for us that some of our friends and family members started to adopt it too. every so often, i check online to see if it's a publicly accepted word, and sadly, it's popularity hasn't reached mr. webster. but i'll keep checking. one day, i'm going to see something other than this when i search online:

next to the phonetic spelling, you'll see "scared or afraid." and you'll know you read it here first.


Regan said...

That is so funny. I can't believe your teacher just went along with it. I wonder if she will ever figure it out?? By the time she does, it will probably be in the dictionary:)

Julia Wade said...

that is stinkin' hilarious maren!!! love it! your blog is looking fabulous, ps.

t.t.turner said...

Oh man, I had Deb. She was interesting. This post is hilarious! I'm loving this idea of a new topic each day - it's so fun to read!

Brad, Debbie, and K squared said...

I have really enjoyed reading your daily thoughts. This one was especially hilarious! It is my goal to use "alagonchy" in a conversation this week. :)

carolee said...

simply hilarious! love it!!

Nathan and Whitney said...

That is the best story I have heard in a while! Love it!!

Molly said...

I haven't even read your post yet. Just wanted to say I love your new background! I kind of want to use that print to reupholster my couch...

Molly said...

I googled "alagonchy." No results found. Anywhere. In the entire web-o-sphere. It is absolutely your word! Although I find it strange that your blog didn't come up as a result...

Karen Hauley said...

Ahhh, alagonchy. I have converted several people at work that now regularly use this word. I think it's difficult to come up with a completely new word, that isn't a word, that sounds like it could be a word. Your creativity is endless.

Claire said...

What a great post! I love that story. I never was priviledged enough to have deb as a teacher. Looks like I missed out!

Kristen said...

This is awesome. I'm loving this writing challenge. It's so fun to learn these new things about you!

Dan and Heather said...

at least you only had Deb for health- I had the distinct privilege of having her as my weight training coach- how butch it that?!

Porters said...

hahahha this reminded me of a time in Provo when we were running, and right in the middle of your story (I don't know what we were talking about) you stopped and laughed and were embarassed because you were about to use one of your made up words. You explaine enough- but I never really knew what you really meant. Now I know...hahaha

Michelle said...

I seriously can't stop laughing. That is way too funny! Love it!

Rebecca Parker said...

I've always wondered how I missed out on that in my high school class called Wordsworth:)Now I know the rest o' the story...You express yourself so well in whatever you do/say:) Love your blog-