Blap!

My best friend says “blap” a lot:

Me: Hi, Dave!

Dave: Blap.

Me: How goes?

Dave: Blap.

Okay, that never happens, and I truly hope that trend continues, or else it’ll mean that Dave’s turned into some kind of Muppet, which I’m pretty sure is one of his greatest fears. No, he uses “blap” in phrases such as “to blap about” or “blapping on about,” where “blap” appears to mean “bleat” or “blither” or even just “blab.” So what do we really mean when we say “blap”? I don’t know—I don’t say “blap,” except when I’m talking about Dave. But when he uses the word, it means “say,” wherein the sayer is a stupid person, as in:

  • “Yesterday I heard some Dodger fan blapping about being a Dodger fan.”
  • “[Some annoying celebrity] is forever blapping on about [does it really matter?].”
  • “After not putting anything on his blog for eons, he blapped about ‘blap.’”
  • “Blap on, sweet lips that never told a lie!”

So... all right, that last one is a lie. I doubt seriously that Dave, or anyone else, has ever said such a thing.

(As an aside, my usage of “all right” might tell you that I’m over 40 and actually care about certain word usages. Otherwise, I would’ve said “alright,” which, despite universal vilification of that spelling by every single English teacher and style guide I ever encountered, apparently has become the standard spelling for spellers, especially younger ones, who mean “all right.” I’m not dogmatic about much, but I do feel that “alright” just looks bumpkinesque, and yet, nearly seventeen seconds of Internet research tells me that “alright” has been around since at least 1875. Indeed, Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary sort of justifies the spelling by pointing out that famous writer Gertrude Stein used “alright.” (Still, I don’t know if any particularly good famous writers use “alright,” though I should be fair and note that Stein’s quote about a specific Bay Area city, “There is no ‘there’ there,” is pretty awesome, but not as fun as riffing on the expression: “the failure of ‘there’ to exist in that particular location,” or “the dearth, there, of ‘there,’” or “the ‘there’-free nature of the place,” or even “‘There’? There? I’m thinking not.” And sometimes “Bereft of ‘there’-itude.” But you digress, and you really should knock it off—it’s becoming a real problem. Even so, apparently I continue to buy into English teacher dogma. I blame you. Alright? All right.)

When I first encountered “blap” in Dave’s writing—I’ve never known Dave to actually say “blap,” but he writes it a lot (or “alot”—see “alright” above, if you really want to, and let’s ignore the split infinitives, all right?)—I’d never seen or heard the expression previously. Sure, the context made his meaning clear, but I wondered if “blap” had become a common expression and I had been too out-of-it to notice, or if perhaps it was just a word used only by Dave (whom I shall address, from now on, as “El Blappo”). Another thirty-eight seconds of careful Google-oriented research told me that the most common usage of the “blap” has to do with...

ATTENTION: IF YOU REALLY MUST KNOW, BY ALL MEANS CONTINUE READING. HOWEVER, IF YOUR PERSONALITY IS ON THE DELICATE SIDE—AND IT WOULD HAVE TO BE REALLY DELICATE TO MERIT THIS WARNING—DON’T SAY YOU WEREN’T WARNED.

... the act of bopping someone in the face with an erect penis, or the resulting sound. I would’ve guessed “plap,” if asked to onomatopoeticize such an act. (And “flaff” would probably just be depressing.) And since you asked, Google shows a total of six results for “onomatopoeticize,” a word whose existence I had never before considered. But now I intend to use the word over and over and over and over (or, in other words, rarely if ever again).

If you’re going to continue to digress like this, I should note that “onomatopoeia” is one of those words my father occasionally uses just to accent the silliness of the word itself. Like “cymbidium.” I only recently discovered—accidentally, when seeing it in a street address—that not only is “cymbidium” a word, it also starts with C. I always assumed it was “simbidium,” and that it was a nonsense “Dad” word that means, more or less, “some unspecified thing that you don’t know what it is, but I do.” As it turns out, “cymbidium” is a kind of orchid, and my mother informs me that it’s just a word Dad uses jocularly for flowers in general. I liked it better when it was “simbidium,” fictional, and deliberately silly.

I’m pretty sure such words or expressions are dad-style words—not pertaining to my dad, necessarily, but to dads in general. “Lingavetis of the lumpuckeroo,” for instance, is an unspecified ailment (and, I hope, a fictional one), an expression my father uses exactly as often as necessary, though Mom says that it was a common expression when she was a child. And a high school friend’s father used to mention the “spizerinctum,” which was assumed to be a body part, and which he described as, “Well, it’s like your gazebrick.” (That’s “ga-ZEB-rick,” not “gaze-brick.” But that should be obvious.)

And though I’ve been a dad for sixteen years, I have yet to come up with any dad-style words that I can think of, unless you count “Fdort!” or maybe “Mert!”—which I say when I think I should say something, but I’m not sure what. Probably my son could come up with any number of nonsensical things I’ve blapped over the years, but this would probably be in support of an entirely different argument. Meanwhile, if I concentrated really hard, I’ll bet I could come up with some enduring dad-style words, and I would, too, except that it’s easier just to swear.

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