Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Gift That Makes One Laugh Hardest

Several years ago I discovered James Lileks's Gallery of Regrettable Food online. I'd sneak onto the site at work and sit at my desk hunched over in painful silent laughter ("The Unbearable Sadness of Vegetables" was a favorite title therein). Then my sister gave copies of Lileks's book to Ickie and my father for Christmas. Ickie would pick up the book and start reading it, and he'd laugh so hard I was afraid he'd vomit up his holiday dinner (which he had done on a previous occasion), so I kept hiding it. However, it remains gloriously funny reading.

Last night, after Ickie and I formed addictions to the Free Rice vocabulary game, we talked about our favorite words. I pointed out that unguent had appeared on the quiz for me, a word which was featured effectively in Lileks's chapter entitled "Submit to the Power of Ketchup." After reminiscing and getting all cracked up about unguents and deviled onions, we had a conversation about words we like.

Ick: "I like feculent. And truculent."
Toosa: "Ugh, I don't. I like feckless, but I don't like words that end in -ulent. They sound gross."
Ick: "What? Why?"
Toosa: "They sound like unguent. They sound ointmenty."
Ick: "What are some other words that end with -ulent?"
Toosa: "Opulent. That's not so bad. Ebullient."
Ick: "Ebullient is an -ullient word."
Toosa: "Well, same sound. Let's make some up. Here, let me slather your forehead with this globulent."
Ick: [recoils in horror]
Toosa: "Feeling glum? Have some of this lemonulent to perk yourself up."

This is what happens when I have a conversation too late at night. At this point I'd amused myself to the point that I was paralyzed with laughter and couldn't go to sleep...just like the Christmas Ickie received the gallery. I heartily recommend it this gift-giving season.


hayumbone said...

Globulent. I can see that word quickly becoming popular in the Callaway household, especially when you're trying to torment Ick.

We looked at that book when we visited y'all in SB, didn't we? I seem to remember such horrors as deviled onions and unfortunate commercial food products, particularly coming from the 60s and 70s. Isn't there a chapter on Jello -- or is it molded salads?

Watoosa said...

There are at least two Jello chapters (one that comes immediately to mind is "Jello Ignores the Difficult 60s"), but Jello makes countless appearances in other chapters. There are [shudder] meat molds among other horrors. I'm sure they're very globulent.

hayumbone said...

It was the meat molds I'm recollecting. And some terrible fish disaster.

Oh, and there's "pustulate," which is a charming word with a close "ulent" ending.

I don't like the word "fecund."

Jackamo said...

Oh man! That book makes me laugh so PAINFULLY hard! I need my own copy so bad!!

Jackamo said...

By the way, I have always liked -cious words. Capricious and auspicious are two of my favorites. When I was little, I LOVED the word Shasta!!