`Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!’
– “Jabberwocky” from Through the Looking Glass
Today I feel stabby. Stabby is a new word I picked up, and before you tell me I can’t use stab that way, I will have you know that it is in the Urban Dictionary on the Internet. I don’t see how you can get a more reliable source than that. At any rate, at least it isn’t as bad as using antique as a verb (Today Lovey and I are going antiquing). Antiquing sounds snobby and slightly constipated, whereas stabby adequately describes wanting to stab something. So I can safely say that it makes me stabby when people talk about going antiquing.
English is an evolving language. And some speakers of the English language have evolved more than others. I have two degrees in English, but neither of these degrees were grammar degrees. Obviously. Many of my professors were so grateful to have someone who could string two sentences together coherently that they ignored all but my most grievous errors. Well, at least if they were male. Papers from my female professors came back covered in red, like they’d been, well, stabbed repeatedly. I’m not sure why the female professors were tougher. Perhaps they were more immune to B.S. At any rate, I learned that I had better use proper grammar with them.
But what is proper grammar? Some of the rules, over time, change. Some changes are okay. Others, in my opinion, are not. Texting on a phone is fine, because it’s really annoying trying to hit those teeny little keys. Texting in normal correspondence, such as with email, those “antique” letters, or academic papers, is not. “Lol, omg, wtf is antiquing?” is not a sentence. On any planet. If you turn a paper like this into your professor, you should fail college immediately, and possibly serve time in grammar prison. It’s just wrong. Now a blog, being personal writing, is different. Here I can call stupid sentences “stylistic”. Hence my multiple fragments. In fact, that last sentence about fragments is a fragment. OMG.
|Dictionaries can be your friend!
Lewis Carroll liked to play with language. Alice in Wonderland, and its sequel, Through the Looking Glass, both use puns and nonsense words. It’s like he predicted how future teenagers would write. One of the best examples of this is the poem “The Jabberwocky”. This work is filled to the brim with nonsensical words and phrases. I loved the poem. Until, in a grammar class, we had to dissect it. We had to tell what parts of speech the words – that weren’t words, remember – would be if they were words. I nearly lost my mind. What is brillig? An adjective? An adverb? Let me think – oh, yeah IT’S NOT A WORD! It is not supposed to make sense. That’s why they call in NONsense. It was enough to make me want to take a vorpal sword to somebody.
And so we come back to stabby. The Urban Dictionary defines the word as: -adj. describing feelings of hostility or mean temper, usually related to misfortune or high stress. Originates from the fact the stabbing someone or something seems unusually rational when one is in a stabby mood. It’s not proper grammar, but it describes how I feel much better than “annoyed” or “frustrated”, yet is catchier than “homicidal”. I need this word, because I have to live in the real world, which is, as I’ve said, far closer to the one Lewis Carroll imagined than I would like. For instance, today alone I have had to deal with people, children (not counted among people), cars, caterers, professors (also loosely counted as people), furniture moving, computers, faulty coke machines, telephones, and people. It’s enough to make anybody stabby.
It’s just a good thing I am not the Queen of Hearts. Somebody might lose a head.