Today I want to share a secret with you: the secret of the Joke Word. For yea, today is Monday, and lo, it is far too easy for the fact to weigh heavily upon us all.
The thing about Joke Words is that you may have discovered them already (and if so, it’s time you get them back out, shake off the dust, and get to jokin’). Indeed, they are not a very obscure delight.
Luke of Stick World Comics probably put it most succinctly:
Similarly, I’ve heard a concert recording wherein folks in the crowd holler out what song they wish to hear played next. One concertgoer yelled out a song that had already been played, to which the lead singer replied “Buhwha- we done already done it, done it done it. …that’d be like, you know, like…saying a thing, …and then not saying it for a little while, and then saying it again. People’d be like, ‘Why’d he say that again?'” A joke song is a bit ambitious, especially if it’s a mellow ballad kind of song, so it was probably wise for the band to go on to something else.
Thalia and I really love our joke words. Generally, one of us will be speaking nonchalantly of sealing wax or dinner plans or stories worth reading, and the other will be arrested by some combination of voluptuous vowels and crashing consonants. So it went with “chicken skin (chicken skin, chicken skin. CHICKEN SKIN),” as well as “bacon” and “radishes” when said in the Bagelmaster Voice.*
Then there are the words that take so much energy to work out that one repeats them to get one’s efforts’-worth. Boustrophedonic, sphygmomanometer, margaritomancy, quomodocunquize…if you don’t laugh after saying them, it’s probably because you laughed partway through.
In some other pocket of logophilic delight are the Inherently Funny Words, which I would define as “any word that sounds funny when dictionary.com says it for you.” My list includes bumbershoot and sputum. Then, of course, there’s the definitive word from Dilbert:
So. Go forth, friends! Go catch yourself a weasel. A weasel. WEASEL!!
*so called because it’s a curiously deep, somewhat demonic-sounding voice that goes with toasters that refuse to relinquish one’s bagel. Invention of our friend Michelle, practiced by Thalia with great vim &c.