The Wizard Has Jokes And Shiny Money

14 03 2008

I like words. Yeah, I’m coming out in favor of words. In general. In specific, I like playing with words. It’s fun. It’s like you’re goofing off, but the smart-people way. Best of both worlds, I’d call it.

Turns out, other people like playing with words, too. People like Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau. Did you ever see the movie Swingers? I did. A long time ago. I don’t really remember too much, except that two friends went to Vegas and Vince Vaughn was thin. And, oh yeah, they used the word “money” to mean “cool”. I think that was the first time I really realized that you could do that. I mean, I was already a pro at sarcasm, so I knew you could use words to mean the opposite of what they were, but I never really thought about words actually substituting for different words. “You’re so fuckin’ money, you don’t even know how money you are,” I believe was a line from Swingers. And it meant, simply, “You’re cool. You’re hot! You’re on fire, baby!” And the great thing was, it was never explained. There was never a scene, “Are you calling me currency?” “No, man. I’m calling you badass!” “But you said ‘money’.” “‘Money’ means cool.” “Always?” “No. Just sometimes.” “I see.” It just was. And it told you something about these two guys, that they used “money” to mean not money. “Money,” it turns out, is pretty damn money.

Joss Whedon likes to play with words. If you’ve never seen Firefly or the spinoff movie Serenity, do yourself a favor and go buy them both. I recommend the Collector’s Edition of the latter. Now, watch the entire fifteen odd hours of pure joyous entertainment that you’ve just purchased, and don’t come back until you’re done.

Glad to have you back. Now, one of the — didn’t you just love that? I mean, seriously? Don’t you just kinda hate FOX for cancelling the show prematurely, but then kinda love Joss for bringing it back as a movie? Ahhh… wait, where was I? Oh, right. Okay, so one of the things you may have noticed was the language of the thing. Obviously, there was a good amount of Chinese tossed in the mix, but I’d like to focus on one particular word: shiny. I loved it! I actually use “shiny” in normal conversation. Often. Basically, it means, “I accept that.” It kinda means “cool,” but not nearly as much as “money” does. Like, say you’re haggling down a price. “I’ll give you fifty.” “A hundred.” “Sixty.” “Seventy-five, and that’s as low as I’ll go.” “Shiny.” You just accepted seventy-five. Can you dig it? You can? Shiny.

Diablo Cody is a fan of wordplay. How many of you have seen Juno? Well, even if you haven’t, you probably have heard that the script is filled to the brim with fun words. A character is called “home skillet,” instead of saying, “Shaking that pregnancy test won’t change the result. You can’t become un-pregnant”, the shop clerk says, “That ain’t no Etch-A-Sketch. That’s one doodle that can’t be un-did.” Awesome. Except, what might another word for “awesome” be. Well, this movie answers that for us: “Wizard”. It’s said only two times, I think, in the movie, but it’s probably my favorite little gem. “You see that hot cheerleader over there?” “Yeah.” “I just asked her out, and she totally said yes.” “Wizard.”

And yes, even nerds plays with words (Heh. Nerds Play With Words is totally the name of my band.). I recently commented on my friend’s vlog and I mentioned another commenter whom I’ve never met. He responded, “You’d like her. She’s pretty jokes.” I replied that I have a feeling he made a typo, and did he mean she’s pretty jokey? That she has pretty jokes? He responded right back to inform me that apparently Nerd Fighters (I’m still not sure exactly what Nerd Fighters are. Please forgive my extreme un-hipness.) use the word “jokes” to mean “cool”. I take it that it’s only the plural that is used. Someone can’t be “joke,” for example. But I think it goes beyond just “cool”. I think it’s like, “exactly how I want it right now”. So, “This satin sheet feels perfect against my skin,” becomes, “This satin sheet is totally jokes.”

So, this brings me to my point. I want to make a cool new meaning for something!! So, I’ve been racking my brain, trying to figure out the common bonds. Firstly, they are all things that people already like. I mean, who doesn’t think wizards are cool? Who couldn’t use more money? Who doesn’t have a favorite joke? Who doesn’t get distracted by shiny things? So, I thought of “cookie,” or “pizza”.

Secondly, it can’t be something that has a specific, single meaning already. So, even though there are many different kinds of cookies and pizza, what they are is always the same. There’s no ambiguity. A cookie is round and has toppings, while a pizza is… round… and has toppings. A wizard though, can do magical things. Oooooh, mysterious. A joke can make you laugh for infinite reasons. Money can get you unlimited things. And lots of different things are shiny. The point is, when you hear one of those words, there’s enough leeway that you can accept them instantly as being stand-ins for other ideas.

So, I’ve been thinking and thinking, and I think I’ve got it. “Ripples”. It means like, “rocks”. As in, “That totally rocks!” “Dude, that totally ripples!” It’s great, you see, because ripples are beautiful, natural, and mysterious. Where do they go when they’re gone? Plus also, there are different kinds of ripples. Water ripples, sonic boom ripples, etc. You can also refer to something as Ripple-y, and it feels good and still hard core because of Ripley from the Alien movies, and also from the Believe it Or Not folks.

So, you tell me: do you like it? Does it ripple? If it does, spread it around. Let’s see if we can get it to catch on.

Shiny.

— ldi

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