Thursday, March 10 2005
In this household, the thing referred to with the term "sandwich" can have peanut butter in it or maybe even cheese and lettuce. But if it starts having lots of ingredients and develops some real bulk, a new term is used to describe it: "snerchwich." I had a snerchwich today that contained swiss cheese, marinaded fake turkey, lettuce, slices of a not-especially-good kosher dill pickle, spicy brown mustard, and a thick layer of sauerkraut. There are a few ingredients that, when added to a sandwich, can always be counted upon to push it over the threshold into snerchwichdom. These include sauerkraut, avocado, and tempeh. But a simple patty of vegetarian meat substitute isn't quite enough, not unless more goodies are added.
The origins of the term "snerchwich" can be found in my unusual tendency to spontaneously twist and distort syllables in words. I love performing experiments on their pliability, particularly when I'm singing goofy songs by myself. Why do I do this? I suspect it all began in imitation and mock-celebration of the strange ways I remember words being pronounced by Shenandoah Valley residents soon after moving with my family to Virginia. I'd come from the accent-free suburbs of Washington DC, and I'd never suspected pronunciations could be so odd. There were actually a number of co-existing Appalachian accents in the Shenandoah Valley, and I could expect to hear the same word pronounced in a range of different ways, but it was always the most peculiar pronunciations that caught my attention. Here are some examples:
kinnillygarden - kindergarten
pisgetti - spaghetti
jezbol - adjustable
truller - trailer
liberry - library (this one is common throughout the United States)
woalman - woman (this is just one example of whole class of L-sound insertions)
This evening Jessika sent me a link to the Dogster page for her little dog Ramona. I must really be out of it because I'd never heard of Dogster, a social network for dogs. In the real world dogs have a real network, and humans attach to it like leaves on a tree, meeting and befriending each other based partly on the decisions of their pets. Indeed, many of the people we know in this area are people we met through the dog network. On the internet, though, a dog social network is a very different thing. The dogs' web pages act more like cards in an elaborate game. It's the first entirely vicarious social network I've encountered, but it's surprisingly entertaining. Now, of course, Sally and Eleanor both have pages. There's a Catster too, but I'm only one person.
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