Wednesday, November 18, 2009


“Dad!” I yell as I rake through piles of shoes in my bedroom closet looking for a match to my desert boots. “Dad! Is Karen at the bus stop yet?”
“Zabbazee!” I hear him chime back from the distant downstairs kitchen. This word, zabbazee, was invented by my family and is one you won’t find in any dictionary. As children from every era make insistent demands and shout muffled orders to parents from distant locations, “Zabbazee!” yelled at the top of your lungs is the appropriate response.
Eskimos have dozens of words for snow that precisely describe each snowish nuance from “crunchy dry” to “wet-snowman snow” to “ice-coated topper.” The beauty of zabbazee is that this single word encapsulates what would otherwise be a long-winded-irritated speech yelled back at the selfish sod who is too lazy to change locations to speak to you in person. If zabbazee were in Webster’s Dictionary its entry might read something like this.
Zabbazee  \zab’-u-ze\ interjection Used as an exclamation when expressing frustration with someone who thinks you can hear them. SYNONYM FOR… If you have something to say to me missy, you’d better come and say it to my face. Who do you think you are that you can simply yell something from one end of the earth and expect me to know what it is you’re saying? I absolutely DID NOT hear what you just said and if it was something important like I’m running away and am moving to France, then you need to know I have not heard you.

The trouble with zabbazee is that your children come to understand the richness of this word and begin incorporating it into their own vocabulary.  As my daughter leaves the house, car keys in hand, I blather on from the open front door with endless words of caution, “Be careful. Don’t drive too fast. Remember to lock your doors…” Pulling out of the driveway she responds with an all too appropriate Zabbazee!

No comments:

Post a Comment