Adopt a Dog/Baby/Word/Whatever

My husband is all over me to get a dog. I’m not the most aggressive, stand-your-ground person (translation: I’m a pushover), so I’m new at this role as the one who gets to say no-you-can’t-get-a-puppy-go-clean-your-room-and-do-your-homework.

He wants to adopt a greyhound who can’t race anymore or Buster, a lab that someone found and is looking to get rid of in a non-death way, or any dog that isn’t a pit bull from the pound.

I have good reasons to not want a dog right now, but I might negotiate a dog for a baby. I’d love to adopt or foster-parent a baby. A really tiny one. A baby wouldn’t take up as much space or even require as much equipment as a dog, especially if we’re talking about a rambunctious greyhound or Buster, who is on the large side. I might consider getting a dog if I could get a baby in a package deal.

The fact is, though, that we probably won’t adopt a dog or a baby, so I’m going to adopt a word through Save the Words, a website that is trying to save some really obscure and unpronounceable words from becoming extinct. The idea is: You pick a word to adopt and you make an effort to use the word a lot so that it stays in the English language.

You don’t have to be on the site long enough to be convinced that some words might be better off in a word death camp. They’re all already in the word nursing home; some of them should stop seeking a cure and just buy the farm. Others should shoot themselves in the heart immediately.

When you go to Save the Words, the home page looks like a ransom note from a uber-intelligent person. Words in all fonts and sizes are patched together in a colorful word quilt. As you move your cursor over the landscape, words call out to you. “Pick me!” says psephograph. “Yo yo!” cries odynome. “Yes, yes, me!” squeals impudicity. “Helloooooo,” drones pamphagous. Pamphagous should lose the attitude. You’re never going to get picked with that tone, mister.

When you finally make your choice and agree to adopt the word in all its nerdly glory, you have to agree to “use this word, in conversation and correspondence, as frequently as possible to the very best of my ability.” So help you God. Depending on the word, that’s easier sworn than done.

Words like triclavianism, the belief that only three nails were used at Christ’s crucifixion, and satittipotent, having great ability in archery, and starrify, to decorate with stars, should never be adopted by anyone who is not a theologian or an archer or an elementary school teacher. I can’t imagine myself being able to save molrowing - the art of making merry with prostitutes - all by myself in my conversations with my fellow band moms and Alisha, the girl at the dry cleaner.

And some of the words are just not worth saving. Pocket-handkerchief, with the definition “a handkerchief carried in a pocket,” should have died with my great-grandfather. 

I considered adopting veteratorian, but it means subtle. So why not just say subtle? I’m all for rescuing words whose meanings are unique, but I don’t want to save a word whose job has been completely taken over by another word, who’s handling the job just fine.

After picking through the mass of words, I finally decided on one: Jobler n. One who does small jobs. “To celebrate my pathetic pay raise, I’m going out to drink with some joblers.”

Now I have to go buy a leash and some onesies for my new word. I hope he likes being in our little family.

Labels: , , , , ,