Tuesday, September 1, 2015

I'll Verb You

If you know me long enough, I will verb you.  As in, I will turn your name into a verb that reflects one of your tendencies.  And, candidly speaking, that tendency might not necessarily be positive.  That's just how I roll.

For example (and all names have been changed):

A couple of weeks ago, I reminded our tech office that some of our former employees were still on our email list and needed to be removed.

"Why would you do that?" a friend asked me.
"He was Todding me," I said.  Todd used to work here, too.
"How so?"
"He was taking an unnatural interest in things that happen here that don't matter to him anymore."
"Oh," that friend said, and then he knew what Todding is.

Or take my father.  As an elderly driver, his reflexes are not what they once were, and so he tends to drive more slowly on the interstate than the other cars.  But not always in the rightshand lane.  And so, I've noticed that when I'm in the passenger seat, cars will blast past us on both sides, nearly simultaneously.  It can scare the crap out of me.  I call it getting Dadded.

So when my wife is driving, and she gets passed on both sides, I say, "You just got Dadded."  She never seems to appreciate it when I point that out.

So now you know the game.  If you bring beers to a party at my house and take the leftovers home, I have a verb for your name. If you take days off of work to work at home on things that you could probably accomplish at work, you are a verb in my brain.  If you show up at one of our shows at my friend's house and cook up all of the remaining food and then sit out on the back deck, not even listening to the band, you might end up in the next edition of Merriam-Webster.

If you cannot keep from playing up all of your accomplishments, how hard you work, and what an impact you make, there is a great chance that there is an action verb labeling you somewhere.

Am I proud of this trait?  Not really.  Am I likely to stop?  Even less likely.  For as I come to believe more and more, people, most people if not exactly all people, do.....not......change.  Even football coaches.  And so to ascribe a verb to an ongoing pattern of behaviors may be offensive, but that does not make it untrue.

The flaw is this: if you are the first person who displays a trait, it is going to be named after you.  And so, a couple that brings some "expensive" cookies to a party at my house and then wants to take the remainders home is going to have the verb associated with the person who always takes his leftover beer.  Fair?  No. Petty? Yes.  But does anyone have any idea how much more expensive it is to put on a party than it is to buy a few stylish cookies?

You think I'm proud of this?  I'm not proud.  I am my own verb.  To "Bob" someone is to assign them an unflattering characteristic, I'd guess.  Or to dwell on people's lesser qualities instead of seeing them at their best.  Both are damning.  So, no, I'm not proud.

But those verbs do come into my head with very little effort, and it is difficult to keep them submerged.  I'm trying to work on it; I really am.  But I am also living among, with a discerning eye.

Of course, you can verb me right back with a meaning of your own.  That's fair play.  And who can stop you?

3 comments:

Goofytakemyhand said...

"For as I come to believe more and more, people, most people if not exactly all people, do.....not......change. Even football coaches."

Well, this verb now means something other than vomiting.

troutking said...

To Bob also means to make a cutting remark and then take a sip of coffee as if you couldn't have actually said the remark because your mouth was full.

To Bob also means to declare something over because it isn't as good as it once was even though people may still being enjoying it.

troutking said...

To Bob means to shred a solo on the guitar with your back to the audience.