Sunday, December 20, 2009

Where Words Come From

A few years ago, I interviewed one of the editors at Webster - one of the guys who decides which new words get into the dictionary. It was the year that “doofus” made it in as an official word.

Yeah, there are a ton of funny lines to go with that… but that’s another blog.

I don’t know exactly where THAT word came from, but I just saw something that could be the origin of a new one. 

Remember early this year when the USAir flight landed safely in the Hudson? Capt. Sullenberger, Sully, the name was on every newscast and talk show. I heard him on NPR just a few days ago, and he’s written a book about the whole experience. Not a shill, either, but a moment by moment account of what was going thru his head during that two minutes it took from bird strike to water.

And how calm he remained. Calm in the face of terror. Sully.

That’s the way that the Plugged In blog described a host on Home Shopping Network. I saw the post on Yahoo. t was the HSN host doing a Wii demo, and threw the “tennis racket” controller through the set. The blog goes on to say that the host remained in front of the smashed appliance the rest of his time. “Calm in the face of TV tragedy, he’s a regular Sully”

Captain, as I listened to you the other day on NPR, I heard you talk about how surreal the sudden flush of fame is, and how you had gotten past it. Now, a term like that may have a quick rise and never be heard from again. 

Or, maybe with enough usage, you’ll not only be in the history books, but the dictionary as well.

We could look up the word, and see your picture next to it.

Not a bad place to be.

 -Thanks for reading.

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