2.26.2009

Yuck-a-doo, it's a splut

Do you have spluts at your house?

Bet you do. You might not know it. Or, you might know spluts by another name. But you've got 'em.

Go look in the kitchen. Somewhere on that floor, no matter how recently you've mopped, there'll be a little splash-shaped sticky spot. That's a splut.

A splut begins its life as a simple drop. Juice, maybe. Spaghetti sauce. Some other substance produced by pets and/or teen-agers. Because of that old devil gravity, the substance reaches the floor, where it accumulates passing grime. Eventually, the splut becomes a noticeable smudge, growing ever blacker until somebody scrubs it away.

You won't find "splut" in the dictionary, but that's what we call those sticky spots at our house. Maybe you do, too. Or maybe you have your own word for spluts.

Families tend to accumulate made-up words like "splut" over time. Individual incidents inspire them, as do the peculiar behaviors of friends and relatives. If I said somebody "pulled an Uncle Charlie," many of you would smile and nod. Most of you would be thinking about different Charlies (presumably), but something each Charlie did slipped into the family vernacular, and it's been called an Uncle Charlie ever since.

Some families have secret languages of nonsense words, used to identify everything from favorite toys to favorite body parts. "Booboo" might mean "injury" at your house, but to your neighbors it's a bodily function and to the people across the street, it's their sweet immigrant grandma. Put these families together and say, "I gave their Booboo a booboo while she was taking a booboo," and it could mean most anything.

My family adopted "wobblywad" from a magazine. You know when a table wobbles, and you fold up a napkin or a matchbook cover and you put it under one leg to steady the table? That wadded-up leveling device is a "wobblywad."

Years ago, after a small electrical fire in the condo we rented, the landlord hired a cleaning service to get the smoke smell out of everything. The cleaning service owner took one look at our smoky home, threw his hands in the air and exclaimed, "Yuck-a-doo!"

We've used "yuck-a-doo" to respond to every gross or disgusting thing that's happened around our home since. It's gotten used a lot; we have boys.

The strangest one goes back to before we had kids, to when my wife and I lived in San Francisco. Our apartment's kitchen was small, but it was lined with more ceramic tile than the space shuttle. My wife was in the kitchen. I was around the corner, in my traditional spot, sprawled on the living room sofa.

My wife shouted something. I didn't hear her clearly, so I said, "What?" She repeated it. I still couldn't make it out. "What?"

This went on a few more times before she stalked into the living room and said, "What do you THINK I said?"

"I don't know, hon," I said, carefully. "From in here, it sounded like 'Eep-a-deep.'"

Situation defused. She fell out, laughing.

Ever since, when people yell at each other from opposite ends of the house, with resulting miscommunications, we call that "Eep-a-deep."

Only one problem: Neither of us can remember now what the original phrase was. What was she yelling from the kitchen? "Time to eat?" "Need a treat?" "Eat a beet?" "Beep a beef?"

Who knows? But "eep-a-deep" lives on.

Next week: How to clean up spluts with a "footrag."

3 comments:

Ivan Toblog said...

That's funnier'n the stupid quote I found yesterday.

Life without Clots said...

I thought it was disgusting when my wobblewads splutted, making piles of yuck-a-doos.

poodleland said...

I have spluts at my house that keep multiplying. So if anyone needs more?