We stopped at the Goodwill store the other day on the way home from BJ's just because you never know what you'll see there. And everyone who walked in there that day saw a real live portmanteau!
"I didn't know they had pets at the Goodwill store!" some will cry.
You know portmanteaus if you've ever watched "I Love Lucy," stayed at a roadside place on the way home from a trip to Lake Chaubunagungamaug, picked up Labradoodle poop from the lawn, or stirred your Vodka-and-Clamato with a spork. Or watched "Titanic" for all those scenes with the rich people's luggage being loaded onboard. (Poor people, played by Leonardo D. Caprio, used their left pocket as their luggage.) Those giant two-part suitcases that look like wardrobe closets with handles on top? Those are called portmanteaus, a French word made up from combining the words "Porter" (to carry) and "Manteau" (an old word for clothing). French linguists in need of a word to describe two-part luggage came up with "portmanteau." English linguists in need of a word to describe two-part words came up with stealing "portmanteau" from the French, who immediately invited the English over for a turducken dinner.
So it's a portmanteau to say "motel" (combining motor and hotel), "DesiLu" (Desi and Lucy), "Labradoodle" (Labrador retriever and poodle), and of course, the deadly "spork," scourge of high school cafeterias all over, is an eating implement that's 1/2 spoon and 1/2 fork and completely useless as either.
Egg-Free Brunch? Emergency Food Bank?
This portmanteau for sale at the Goodwill looked like the one pictured here, but it had the initials "E F B" neatly painted in Times New Roman on the top. And ever since, Peggy and I have played the EFB game, trying to figure out who he or she was. Elbert Fabian Bolton? Elinor Federica Bonaventura? Employee Fringe Benefit?
Imagine the places that portmanteau has been and been seen in, and now it sits in a Goodwill store in Perry Hall, Maryland, yours for $300. Perfect for your friend Earleen Fay Bailey, who always liked to end her day with a nice Eucalyptus Foaming Bath!