Cracker by Damian Christie

It's only words...

I had been hoping to regale you with tales of a wonderful weekend spent diving and driving. My dive-buddy cousin has finally recovered from a serious bout of pneumonia – which has left both of us grounded – so we were planning to head to Goat Island for an easy reintroduction to the wonders of underwater living.

Sadly, ‘twas not to be. Broken car, bad weather, inconvenient tide times, it seemed easier to postpone once again. This diving lark is pretty simple in theory. I own all my own gear, other than tanks, and there are great spots within easy driving distance. But despite all the best intentions, the last time my wetsuit earned its name was May last year. I can see why so many people get their PADI ticket and never end up diving again.

(A not-so-subtle call to any readers who dive with any regularity and don’t mind a rank amateur tagging along, you know how to get hold of me…)

I’d also hoped to boast some pictures of a brand new (old) car I was hoping to buy on Sunday. The car was a model I’ve admired for a long time (1974 BMW 2002 tii), the price was right, the money was there, and damn it, I was going to buy it. Until my car-savvy mate Martin put a screwdriver through the rusty floor panels and shook his head. I’ve decided to put more effort into getting the Sprite up and running. In the 10 years I’ve owned it, it’s only been on the road for three, at best. I think I’m owed some good karma.

I never did write about the tale of the mechanics who had my car for 14 months. It’s a long boring tale, and it ended badly, with liars, lawyers, a bill in the thousands, damage to my car, shoddy workmanship and a vehicle that still doesn’t go. Suffice to say, I will not be recommending Mopower Performance to anyone. If I had more time on my hands, I’d be heading to court right now.

The other annoying thing about the weekend involves the cat, a scrap and an abscess. It’s the second this year, the first took place on New Year’s Day and cost me $340. (I said to the vet nurse, "Jesus, for $10 more I could get a new one!" She didn’t see the humour.) This Sunday’s stoush only cost $80, but involves twice-daily application of a warm flannel and pressure, to squeeze out pus from a scabby sore – the joys of pet ownership, I tell you.

Which brings me to my next (many might say, first) point. The sentence above contains a word that gives my flatmate the absolute willies. It’s not ‘scabby’, or even ‘pus’, but ‘flannel’. Who can say why; it just is.

We’ve all got words that make us shudder. In many cases, the reason is semi-obvious. Gusset. Panties. (I’m dreading some of the google hits I’m going to get this week). My big one is ‘corsage’. No idea why, I just hate it. Olivia over at DogBitingMen says ‘hubby’ gives her the creeps. Telephone call for Mr Freud…

On the flipside, ‘jamboree’ is the flannel flatmate’s big favourite. It’s a word filled with almost onomatopoeic joy, he claims, what’s not to love about a jamboree? Um, young boys, in little uniforms, with scarves and woggles? I’m worried.

So I’d like to compile a lexical list of everyone’s hot and nots. The words that make you shudder, whether for good reason, or none at all, send them in. Explanations welcome, but not necessary. Similarly, the words you savour as they roll around your tongue. Flick ‘em to me.

By way of bribe, I’m prepared to offer three random entrants a free Home Entertainment System. By which I mean a book. A good one though, carefully chosen by yours truly to guarantee hours of amusement. I’ll publish the list in a couple of weeks’ time. Go on, give it a go…you know you want to.