Senior creativity: inventing new words
I'm usually annoyed at the changes in my mental infrastructure. Blown fuses. Memory parity errors. Slow reboots. Noisy signals. No BSD yet, but that's only because I'm not running Windows. At least I hope I'm not.
I don't see the changes, of course, only their effects, and from the effects I infer the underlying causes. I hear sounds, but can't translate the sounds into words or the words to meanings. I forget a well-known fact. A few weeks ago I forgot my zip code. At least I think I did. But I'm not sure it was my zip code I forgot. Maybe it was my telephone number. Maybe it wasn't a couple of weeks ago, but a couple of months ago.
That's a metamemory loss: I've forgotten what it is that I forgot.
A common failure mode, which I've written about before, is word blending: my mental machinery is trying to express an idea and uses a kind of map-reduce network to do it. Tasks are dispatched to develop alternative formulations of multiple variations of the idea; tasks spawn subtasks to choose appropriate words and phrases; then all of the mapped variations are reduced to a single, coherent speech-stream. In theory.
But sometimes the reduce part of the network fails, and instead of choosing one word or another it gives conflicting orders to the vocal apparatus. And out comes a new word. Or a new sound. Or the system crashes, and I need to reboot.
I may have the causes wrong, but these are the effects. And it's not just me. Today, Bobbi asked me to get a spinge, Really? A spinge? I'm not sure what word was blended with sponge to get spinge, but something was.
We decided--actually she decided, and I went along--that we consider this not a failure mode, but a new form of creativity. "What's a spinge?" She asked. "We should make up a new definition."
So, for all of you (both of you? All three of you?) reading this, a spinge is a spinning sponge.
Got a spill? Spinge it, don't sponge it!
Mad a mess on your binge? Clean it up with a spinge!
Get your spinge in time for Christmas.
Hurry, while spinge supplies last.
EDIT: the original version said a spinge was a spinning ponge. WTF is a ponge? That may be the subject of a future post. Or not.