More Crap

February 2008 - Before we get any farther into this New Year, I think it's time to tie up some loose ends from the old one. So, without any further delay … I give you the 2007 Word of the Year, as chosen by the language lovers at the American Dialect Society. You may recall that last month in this column, I noted that the prefix i- would be my choice for the WOTY. Well, i- was wrong. And so was I.

The 2007 Word of the Year is "subprime" thanks to the dire financial straits that many homebuyers are now in. In fact, not only did the whole mortgage mess help to make "subprime" the word of the year, it also led the linguists to create a whole new category devoted to all terms real estate related.

Even though i- was wrong, I will say that my premonition about a prefix was not far off. The environmentally-friendly prefix green- took top honors in the category of "Most Useful Word." It was also voted "Most Likely to Succeed."

If the new notoriety of the word "subprime" does not convince you that there may be some hard economic times ahead in '08, maybe this will. You know that box o' crap that I get every Christmas from my crazy uncle? Well, in '07, it was really crappy.

The least crappiest and most useful item was a nightlight that shines in a rotating panorama of color. It's similar to the nightlights that came in the box o' crap a couple of years ago. With those, you could let the light cycle through the rainbow, or you could stop it on a particular color. With this new one, there’s no stopping it. When it's on, it continuously changes color, throwing spiky crown-like patterns of light onto the wall. It's actually kind of cool and, because I put it in the kitchen, it's not too annoying.

The rest of the items, though. They had annoying – and "MADE IN CHINA" - written all over them. Like the umbrella packed tightly into a container that might also be good for holding a big pair of eyeglasses. I'm sure it was a good enough umbrella but I'm also sure that, once I took it out of the case and used it, I'd never get it back in.

Then, there was the three-pack of cloths for cleaning your car without actually washing it. One cloth was blue (for the outside), one was green (for the inside) and one was yellow (for the tires, I think). I think it would just be easier to take the car to the car wash.

And finally, there were three blue plastic clothespins with hooks. You know. The kind you might use for hanging pantyhose from the shower rod. I'm not sure where they came from because I didn't originally notice them in the box o' crap. But, when the crap was transferred to a bag, they suddenly appeared. Making them disappear proved to be my first big challenge of 2008.