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Around the Kitchen Table

Lloyd Ratzlaff




Once upon a time I had a dream in which an anonymous man phoned to pass on a message to me: “Dumpus Deepshit sends his greetings.” Dumpus himself, like the invisible caller, never appeared, but when I awoke I appreciated his thinking of me, and ever since he came to mind I’ve been captivated by his name.

Meanwhile, other dream-characters have been more talkative. A few have used words I’d never heard before, words so arcane that I’ve been forced to define them (however provisionally) for myself. No doubt readers of the “Kitchen Table” will do better than I with the samples below, and perhaps make new contributions to the lexicon of our evolving language.

Here, with a tip of the cap to Dumpus, are seven words spoken by dream-people. Call these locutions sniglets or neologisms, as you like, but to demonstrate my current comprehension I’ve defined each one and used it in a sentence. Feel free to invest them with deeper and higher significations (there’s a Daffy Duck word for you — another DD, I see) than I’m presently capable of.

1) Bedeudle: (Yiddish) to confuse oneself with Freudian psychology. “After her therapy session, the hen was bedeudled to know that she suffered from cloacal envy.”

2) Succethics: (Latin/Middle English) the notion that if something works in the short run, it necessarily works forever. “If Donald Trump can stop tweeting buk-buk, he hopes to write a book-buk titled Succethics Can Work For You Too! bu-KAK.”

3) Axolux: (American) a combo guitar/vacuum-cleaner used by stagehands to clean up messes after rock concerts. “’Geez,’ said one guy, ‘I’m sure glad we gots an axolux to make the job easier.’ ’’

4) Papooster: (Narraganset) a papal nuncio. “The apostolic papooster visited the province recently, with an urgent need to keep the barnyard hens and city chicks in check.”

5) Euphemister: (Greek/Canadian) a male political representative (female: euphemiz). “Order in the House! The Speaker recognizes the euphemister from Shawinigan, because a proof is a proof because it is proven.”

6) Aunjepultjad: (Low German) the manner of approach of a vehicle driven by an aging Mennonite. “Doa tjemmt aul vada ne Mennist aunjepultjad (there comes already again another Menno puttering us on).”

7) Pointrillanosoccio: (French/Italian) a meadowlark song. “He paused to rest in the shade of a poplar, and from somewhere came the sound of pointrillanosoccio — only he didn’t know what the word meant, or quite how to pronounce it, so he went home and made something up.”

It’s possible that Dumpus D will come again to help clarify these matters — to unbedeudle us, so to speak. But till then, here’s a buk-buk and cockadoodle — do to us all in our definings.

Ratzlaff is a former minister, counsellor, and university lecturer. He has authored three books of literary non-fiction published by Thistledown Press, and edited an anthology of seniors’ writings published by READ Saskatoon. He has been short-listed for three Saskatchewan Books Awards, won two Saskatchewan Writers Guild literary non-fiction awards, and served on local, provincial, and national writing organization boards.