Insert Something Cute & Fluffy Here

I have two cats, and I spoil them rotten. It doesn’t matter what they do. One compulsively urinates under the stairs, turning that section of the carpet into a nightmare landscape of horrors. The other is a fat slob who flings his cat litter everywhere and throws up on my bed. Despite all this, I find them irresistibly adorable. I snuggle them every chance I get. This is a feeling that I find hard to explain, like the feeling of awe you experience while watching a sunset or the feeling of unbridled disgust while watching Jersey Shore.

Many people wouldn’t be ashamed to admit that there are certain things they find outrageously cute. Women everywhere squeal with delight when they see a baby or a puppy. Their lower lips quiver with barely contained glee when shown a picture of Grumpy Cat. Even the butchest, moustache-twirling, muscle-flexing men have moments where something blindsides them with cuteness. Don’t be ashamed, guys. It happens to the best of us.

It doesn’t come as any surprise that there’s a word for that. This word comes from our friends in the Philippines, where apparently there is such an abundance of cuteness that it’s raining from the sky and permeating everything with a fine layer of everything fluffy and doe-eyed. The word is gigil (pronounced ghee-gill) and means “the urge to pinch or squeeze something that is unbearably cute”.

Wow, that’s fitting. Even the damn word is cute. It sounds like the name of an adorable Pokemon, one with the voice of a constricted Furby and possessing the kind of fluffy fur that would make clothing designers drool.

Finally, I have a word to describe how I feel while watching a sleeping cat. There’s one right next to me, head curled into his chest and body contorted like a pretzel. He’s so cute I just want to bury my face in his side and snuggle him to death.

Now he just farted in his sleep. On second thought, he’s not cute. I take it back. 

 

 

165968_10151795878205183_278205840_n.jpg

 Jacob Rennick was born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1993. He has lived in several cities during his life, and made the move to Ottawa in the summer of 2012, where he’s currently studying Professional Writing at Algonquin College. He lives with several roommates and his two cats, Virgil and Maximus. He has written several short stories and is working on a longer piece called Cleaning House.

You can friend him on www.facebook.com/jakob.rennick

Or follow him on twitter.com/JakobRennick or ask.fm/JakobRennick

Someone Pass the Ice Cream Tub

We’ve all had our feelings hurt. Brittany didn’t ask you to the prom, your mother called you fat, your wife ran off with that flirty fitness instructor she’s always gushing about. As a great philosopher once said, “Sh*t happens.”, and we have no choice but to deal with it.

And people deal with such things in different ways. Some people go to the golf course to blow off some steam. I personally watch children’s cartoons and hug my cat. But other people find their comfort in food, and stuff their faces with tasty treats and goodies.

We all know the one friend who will devour an entire container of chocolate ice cream in one sitting, in response to emotional trauma. In English we have a few words used to describe this phenomenon, such as “comfort food” and “binge-eating” and “just . . . sad”. But again the Germans beat us English speakers to a more fitting definition, which nicely adds up all the elements at play in one perfect word. That word is kummerspeck (pronounced KUM-er-speck). The word stands for “Excess weight gained by eating comfort food”.

The word is based on the German word kummer (for “grief”) and speck (for “lard”). The Internet, in its brilliance, has chosen to interpret lard as bacon, so the popular English term for the word is “grief bacon”.

 If only it was this easy

If only it was this easy

That really sums up the spirit of the word, doesn’t it? Nothing says comfort food like a big tub of grief bacon. And kummerspeck is such a fun word to say. It’s something you can imagine yelling in a grease-fueled stupor, clutching your grief bacon and crying salty tears. 

 

http://www.cracked.com/article_19695_9-foreign-words-english-language-desperately-needs.html

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Kummerspeck

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/last-mar06.html

165968_10151795878205183_278205840_n.jpg

 

Jacob Rennick was born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1993. He has lived in several cities during his life, and made the move to Ottawa in the summer of 2012, where he’s currently studying Professional Writing at Algonquin College. He lives with several roommates and his two cats, Virgil and Maximus. He has written several short stories and is working on a longer piece called Cleaning House.

You can friend him on www.facebook.com/jakob.rennick

Or follow him on twitter.com/JakobRennick or ask.fm/JakobRennick

That Time I Was Crowned King of the Universe

 

We all have nightmares. It’s a rite of passage for all of us who outgrow diapers and light-up shoes. Back in our early years, our imaginative minds would be working overtime, turning every darkened closet and dimly lit basement into a charnel house of horrors. I once had a nightmare about my laundry coming to life and smothering me, so I know what I’m talking about. Kids are easy to scare by nature, and many of our dreaming moments were spent in pants-wetting terror.

 Pictured: Child Kryptonite

Pictured: Child Kryptonite

But then there’s the opposite of a nightmare. You know which ones I’m talking about. One of those dreams that leave you with a big sappy smile on your face. Maybe you were dreaming you were eating three square meals of marshmallow pie, or you were Superman flying majestically through the clouds, or you were having intercourse with a Swedish bikini model on top of an elephant. Dreams like that are rare and hard to come by, and we English- speaking folk don’t seem to have a word for them. But the Bantu people of Africa do.

Bantu is a word used to describe the 600 or so ethnic groups living in Africa who speak Bantu languages. These languages mainly include Zulu, Shona, and Swahili. However, they can all agree that the word for a legendary, blissful dream is bilita mpash.

Bilita mpash is the exact opposite of a nightmare. It’s a word you would think is desperately needed in the English language, but it’s strangely absent. It’s odd to give an awful nightmare the courtesy of a definition and yet deny a state of bliss the same, but that’s just the cards we’ve been dealt.

According to the Bantu people, bilita mpash only come once in a long while and are rarely remembered upon awakening. They entertain and dazzle you for the night, giving you sensations of wonder and euphoria you can barely imagine, and then disappear without a trace as you wake. Wow, by that definition, bilita mpash is starting to sound like a lot of women I’ve known.

I implore you, fellow English speakers! We must have a word like this in the dictionary! Contact the wordsmiths, Oxford dictionary employees, somebody. Too long have the nightmares held sway, with no polar opposite to challenge them. When I sleep and dream of conquering the universe with a golden halberd astride a flaming velociraptor, I want a word for that, damn it.

 http://bantucivilizationinformation.wikidot.com/

http://library.thinkquest.org/16645/the_people/ethnic_bantu.shtml

http://betterthanenglish.com/bilita-mpash-bantu/

165968_10151795878205183_278205840_n.jpg

 

Jacob Rennick was born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1993. He has lived in several cities during his life, and made the move to Ottawa in the summer of 2012, where he’s currently studying Professional Writing at Algonquin College. He lives with several roommates and his two cats, Virgil and Maximus. He has written several short stories and is working on a longer piece called Cleaning House.

You can friend him on www.facebook.com/jakob.rennick

Or follow him on twitter.com/JakobRennick or ask.fm/JakobRennick

 

I Only Laugh When it Hurts

 

I’m going to be honest with you: I love watching fail videos on the Internet. You know which ones I mean. The videos where people film themselves jumping off buildings or skateboarding down a flight of stairs and inevitably wind up hurting themselves, usually in an unintentionally hilarious fashion. Every time a skateboarder bashes his testicles off a stair-rail, I laugh until I cry.

 

 The picture really says it all

The picture really says it all

 

Perhaps that just proves that I am the bug-eyed sociopath my girlfriend says I am. But I don’t think I’m alone. Many other people across the Internet love watching these videos as well, and there’s a word for that. Schadenfreude (pronounced shaw-den-froi-deh), a cool little loanword from our friends the Germans. The only thing in English that comes close is gloating (to gloat over the misfortune of another).

Schadenfreude is looked down upon by the moralists among us. Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer is famously quoted for saying that, “To feel envy is human. To savour schadenfreude is devilish.” And perhaps he is right, at least partially. To take delight in our fellow man’s suffering does sound cruel. But ol’ Arthur wasn’t around when the Internet was invented, so he never saw such gems as “Man Sets Hair on Fire,” and the classic “Skateboarder Nut-Shot”. I think even he would get a chuckle out of those.

Schadenfreude has been around since the rise of humanity. Gladiators fought and died in the Coliseum for the enjoyment of the crowd. White slave-owners had their slaves fight to the death over wagers. Today we watch wrestling and boxing and the UFC, to watch muscled juggernauts pummel each other’s faces into mush. And with each spray of blood the crowd cheers.

So it turns out schadenfreude isn’t something to be ashamed of; it’s just another quirk of human psychology. Even the noblest among us feel it to a certain extent. But if you’re feeling aghast at your own guilty pleasures, there is hope. The Buddhist concept of mudita is an example of the exact opposite of schadenfreude. The concept is “joy at the good fortune of others”. So if you laugh at a fat guy sitting down and breaking his toilet, you can console yourself with the fact that you feel great mudita at your sister’s wedding.

 http://www.coldhardfootballfacts.com/content/the-joy-schadenfreude/5923/

165968_10151795878205183_278205840_n.jpg

 

Jacob Rennick

 Jacob Rennick was born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1993. He has lived in several cities during his life, and made the move to Ottawa in the summer of 2012, where he’s currently studying Professional Writing at Algonquin College. He lives with several roommates and his two cats, Virgil and Maximus. He has written several short stories and is working on a longer piece called Cleaning House.

You can friend him on www.facebook.com/jakob.rennick

Or follow him on twitter.com/JakobRennick or ask.fm/JakobRennick