My world is almost normal...
"There's No Business Like Snow Business"
They say that Eskimos have 30 words for snow or something like that. (Yes,
I know Eskimo isn't the preferred P.C. term, but I just went with my
"Inuition"). I was complaining to my friends about snow the other day, and
I just couldn't find the proper vocabulary. It couldn't possibly be my
fault; our language must need more words. When it's falling from the sky
our distinctions are pretty good: snow if it's soft, sleet if it's mush,
rain if it's water, and hail if it's millions of tiny ping-pong balls. We
even have colorful colloquialisms like "It's raining cats and dogs" or
"It's hailing taxis" or "It's coming down like Hugh Grant's trousers".
However, once it hits the ground, we simply don't have the words to
describe it; there's snow and slush. That's it. This doesn't even begin to
explain all the types of stuff on the ground. At the risk of attracting
great contempt from both Merriam and Webster, I have created some new
words so we may speak about snow with more precision:
-Sprizzle: This is the tiny, almost non-existent snowish substance
that seems powdered atop the real world, like sugar on a donut that you
know is going to be all over your clothes for the rest of the day. You
know when the sheets of snow are just blowing across the ground, not
sticking to anything, all moving like a giant white sandstorm? It's
almost as if it's not even on the ground, it's just suspended around you
and waiting for wind. You can even watch lines progress across a sidewalk
if you look carefully, it's surreal at times. Of course, at other times
you can watch the snow fly directly into your eyes, down your shirt, and
up your nose.
-Crounk: Crounk is that kind of snow that's crunchy on the outside
but chewy on the inside. Like a taco, only less spicy. You've got the
regular powdery snow that's fallen and piled up, but the top has iced over
and is a bit shimmery and sparkly. And it looks like you can walk on top
of it, but then the surface breaks through and *crounk!* you sink
down until the snow entirely devours your feet in a savage soggy snack.
*crounk!* I think onomatopoeic words are just inherently fun. Like
tintinnabulation (which actually means the sound that bells make, for you
Div 3 majors). What a great word!
-Mleuckh: This is that brownish disgusting stuff that you see after
it hasn't snowed for a few days. The cars have gone by, the plows have
turned the snow over, and it's all brown and barely recognizable as
belonging to the snow family. Pronunciation of mleuckh varies according to
the water content; the "ckh" sounds more like phlegm if the mleuckh is
more melted. Really watery mleuckh can also be referred to by stretching
out the vowel sounds (mleeeeuuuuckh).
-Splooshdamn: This is the bad concoction that occurs when it's not
cold enough for crounk. A whole bunch of watery slush lies contained
beneath a layer of innocent-looking snow. The name for this one came to me
when I was walking to Baxter. I saw that the concrete looked slippery and
decided to walk around it to be safe. I thought to myself, "Oh, I'll just
avoid the icy sidewalk by walking on the sno--" *SPLOOSH!*
"Damn." And my shoes were soaked. Hence, watch out for the splooshdamn.
Have I mentioned that I like words that are onomatopoetic?
I hope that these new precise terms will make it easier for friends to
warn each other about lousy weather conditions outside. (Sadly, there has
still been no progress in abating lousy weather conditions inside. Most
student dorms on campus have specially designed heaters that have been
pre-set to one of two settings which cannot be
changed: 1. Off. 2. Broil.) Think of the trouble you could avoid if your
suitemate said to you, "Oh, don't step in the splooshdamn between Stetson
and the library," or "Look out for the moron outside of Griffin."
Actually, the moron outside of Griffin would have been me. Last week it
was raining rather heavily so I decided to use my umbrella. Unfortunately,
it was also windy enough that my umbrella turned inside out and I nearly
lost my balance and fell into some mleuckh. After a small struggle with my
umbrella (technically a draw, although I still claim victory in spite of
the disdainful glances from passers-by), I managed to get it mostly
right-side-in again and fold it back up. I then continued walking to
Griffin in the pouring rain while carrying a large closed umbrella and
getting completely soaked. Weather report: Scattered showers with a 25%
chance of moron.
Oh well. At least now we have appropriate words to describe the various
types of snow I managed not to fall in. Good luck out there, and stay out
of the splooshdamn.