Spim spam, flim flam

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As a writer, I am always groping for words to express myself. The wonderful thing about the English language, is that you can go fishing in a lexicographic lake, and you are guaranteed to catch a juicy word or two.

Sometimes I make an expedition to the gallery of modern words, where I can admire the sumptuous beauty of some of these new forms. But occasionally, like modern art, I am discombobulated by cabalistic words.

I read in the New York Times of 29 October 2004, about the internet provider, America Online, filing lawsuits against spammers who use instant messaging, a practice the online industry calls “spimming.” I have not heard of the word “spimming,” so I went to my trusty Word Spy, a delightful online dictionary that is particularly good with new words, now available in print.

Word Spy defines the word “spim” as: “an unsolicited commercial message sent via an instant messaging system.” Therefore “to spim” is “to spam instant messages using the short message service (SMS).”

I would not be surprised that before long, the phrase “spim spam” will become incorporated into a song lyric. “Give them the old flim flam flummox” sings Richard Gere in the musical, Chicago. Well how ‘bout “Give them the old spim spam subpoena … razzle dazzle them!”

If you can excuse my attention deficit, while reading Word Spy, I saw another new word, “glurge.” This means: “A sentimental or uplifting story, particularly one delivered via e-mail, that uses inaccurate or fabricated facts; a story that is mawkish or maudlin; the genre consisting of such stories.” I hope that Dan would Rather not indulge in even the merest soupçon of glurge!

Another delightful new word found in Word Spy is “slacktivism,” a noun meaning “Activism that seeks projects and causes that require the least amount of effort.” A person actively indulging in this pursuit is therefore a “slacktivist.” Finally I found a word to describe my passion!

There is one word listed in Word Spy, but curiously it does not link anywhere. It is the word “meanderthal.” I could not find it defined anywhere, even in some lah-di-dah dictionaries. If it is not yet accepted into the world’s English lexicon, I would like to propose that it be considered for admission. I would define “meanderthal” as “a person who habitually meanders in thought and expression, a loquacious blabbermouth.” Future archaeologists might find the skeletal remains of “meanderthal man” circa 2004 AD, and the distinctive feature of this person is the slightly caudally tilted skull and the jaw bones angled to indicate the mouth agape.

Hey, I’m serious!

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