One of the most annoying things in an allegedly literate human world is when a person invents a word for a word that already has meaning and context and then tries to press that definition into others in everyday use. I’m not talking about words like “Memeingful” or “RelationShaping” or even the colossal “Panopticonic” — all of which have base value in an original colloquial expression — no, I’m talking about “words” like “Blubeekuss” that are made up to be a synonym for “bra.”
A female graduate student at a major East Coast research university, was recently telling her peers a story during a class break in the hallway about how she always thought “Blubeekuss” meant “bra” and how she always used Blubeekuss for bra her entire life until — at the age of 21 and in college — someone finally asked her what “Blubeekuss” meant and why she kept using it while talking about her breasts.
The Blubeekuss storyteller, in a fit of self-centered, self-sustaining laughter, went on to explain how funny she thought it was to use the wrong word for “bra” all those years of her life.
The other street-hardened and dumbfounded students listening to her story stood there and stared at her — a 100% California bred, raised and educated woman — until one of them asked her what she thought “bra” had meant all those years.
“Oh, I thought ‘bra’ was another name for Blubeekuss,” she replied.
Blubeekuss filled the empty space with giggling.
Another student asked her why her parents didn’t correct her misuse of a made up word.
“My mother thought it was cute,” Blubeekuss said.
As Blubeekuss continued to laugh, the rest of the students slowly turned away from her and returned to class.
The lesson in Blubeekuss is that parents and peers have a responsibility to correct what is patently wrong and selfish in a world we must share. “Bra” is a fine word that has clarity and meaning and history while “Blubeekuss” — a made up word in childhood — has no history or context with the real word it is supposed to synonymize.
We can’t each have our own invented vocabulary — because then no one, other than us, would ever understand what we’re trying to say — and it is that common covenant to share a like language that civilizes us and makes more alike than different and giggly.