Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Mad man

Oh man, I was peeved.  Vexed.  Miffed. And most certainly irked.  Without going into details, let's just say that someone from somewhere called me, said that they had done something that we aren't supposed to do, and told me what I was going to do to make things whole again.

You say what, now?

Oh yes, and I was going to do it by some deadline, too.  And there was to be no dithering, and my suggestions for 127 different ways to handle the situation were just scraps of crepe paper, tossed to the wind of the other person's demands.

Well, I went and told someone, because I didn't want any of us getting splashed with beach when the ship hit the sand, and he said, "Why did ____ get this way?"

I said, "I don't know; ____ just got all whoopsy on me!"

He didn't know what "whoopsy" meant, and to be frank, until I said it, I didn't either, because the word did not exist in English, as far as I know, before I coined it just then.

And I'm not saying it's a brilliant word (such as 'sesquipedalian') or particularly euphonious ('symphony'), or even so self-evident that you know what it means without running to the Funk & Wagnalls ('rainbow-colored') but 'whoopsy,' which can also be spelled 'oopsie' for all the people I work with care, came to be defined by the brilliant thinker and wordsmith Stephen Roblin, who said it means

"Indignant without just cause"

And I say bravo to that.  When someone goes to court hollering that they were ONLY going 45 in a 30-mph zone and "lots of other people were going even faster,"  they are being whoopsy.  When someone gets a free dessert in a restaurant because their reservation got messed up and they had to sit for a few minutes out by the wicker baskets with the duck sauce packets, fortune cookies and chopsticks for the carryout trade, and then complain that if they're getting a free dessert, they'd prefer tira misu, that's whoopsy.

And certainly, in that old story when a grandmom takes her grandson to the beach and he is bobbing around in the surf on his inflatable serpent and the tide suddenly rips and carries him out to sea and the brave lifeguard swims against the current, brings him back to the beach and performs CPR to bring him back to life, and the grandmom says to the lifeguard (as dozens cheer his heroism), "Well, he HAD a hat!" that is major league whoopsy.

The word spilled out and I'm waiting for it take hold in the local vernacular.  But then again, I'm waiting for "vernacular" to take its place in the vernacular, so anyway...

1 comment:

Kristen said...

I like whoopsy. There's a lot of whoopsy in the world. My three year-old always says oopsies when she drops something. She always includes the 's' on the end too. Part of me worries she'll still say it when she's 50. This feels a bit whoopsy of me, though, because it's awfully cute and gives me much joy.