Back in the good old days – the 80s – the mighty Douglas Adams (and another guy whose name everyone always forgets but who was called John Lloyd) wrote a dictionary, The Meaning of Liff, highlighting all manner of common experiences/feelings/situations/objects which everyone knows and recognises, but for which no words exist. In the book, the necessary words were provided; the nomenclature for the task being the place names of Great Britain. For example:
One who washes up everything except the frying pan, the cheese
grater and the saucepan which the chocolate sauce has been made
[Abinger is a village in Surrey]
Employing Mr Adams' (and the other guy's) creative and comic talents (and some cutting and pasting), I can now present to you, the abridged story of my life, in definitions.
To relate an amusing story to someone without remembering that
it was they who told it to you in the first place.
ZEAL MONACHORUM (n.)
(Skiing term.) To ski with 'zeal monachorum' is to descend
the top three quarters of the mountain in a quivering blue funk,
but on arriving at the gentle bit just in front of the restaurant
to whizz to a stop like a victorious slalom-champion.
The tiny snippets of beard which coat the inside of a washbasin
after shaving in it.
The coda to a phone conversion, consisting of about eight
exchanges, by which people try gracefully to get off the line.
An 'injured' footballer's limb back into the game which draws
applause but doesn't fool anybody.
The horseshoe-shaped rug which goes around a lavatory seat.
The man behind you in church who sings with terrific gusto almost
tree quarters of a tone off the note.
All light household and electrical goods contain a number of vital
components plus at least one exeter. If you've just mended a fuse,
changed a bulb or fixed a blender, the exeter is the small, flat
or round plastic or bakelite piece left over which means you have
to undo everything and start all over again.
Someone who just cannot do anything quietly.
NEWTON POPPLEFORD (n.)
A crackpot theorist who believes that he will overturn science and the laws of physics as we know them. Since the rise of the Internet, Newton Popplefords have received more public attention than real scientists.
A very short peremptory service held in monasteries prior to teatime
to offer thanks for the benediction of digestive biscuits.
What the police in Leith require you to say in order to prove
that you are not drunk.
[Devon (parents), Sheffieldish (born), Herts (brought up), Devon (moved), Edinburgh (latest)]