The Italian's strength is talking, very often to the point of mental fatigue and hearing impairment on the part of the listener.
He might invent terminology here and there, but not in the way in which the German does, substituting a made up word for one he can't recall. The German is legendary for inventing the word "shniggle" when he meant to say "jiggle," and also for his meandering explanations when he simply can not find the right word. His is a unique and joyous gift.
The Italian's use of language is precise. He uses complex words to convey complex ideas. His imaginary words are deliberately and intentionally crafted.
Like "shoechuks," for example.
In case you've never heard of them, not only is shoechuk an entirely new word created by my son, the Italian, it also is a revolutionary advancement in footwear weaponry.
The shoechuk was made possible by our purchase of a large painting to hang in our family room. The unframed painting had special cardboard corner protecters that were held together by long elastic bands. Removed from the painting, the Italian found he could cram one of the protective corners over his heel and another over his toes to create a "shoe" of sorts. The elastic band served as a body-length shoe suspender.
The best part -- and the reason warmonger Dick Cheney ought to consider funding a grant for further research and development -- is that in one sorta, kinda almost swift move the Italian can grab the band off his shoulder, yank the "shoe" off his foot, and swing the two sections of cardboard around like lethal nunchucks.
Okay, maybe more like a pair of non-lethal clown nunchuks made out of bits of reinforced paper and leftover underwear elastic, but nunchuks just the same.
Every now and then, however, the Italian surprises us with a slip into his brother's area of expertise, confidently using the wrong word in the wrong situation. It doesn't happen often, but when it does it's a thing of genuine beauty.
Last Friday night, as we sat shivering on the metal seating of Our Daughter's high school football field, the Italian suggested we purchase one of the blankets being sold by the Pinecrest High School marching band boosters. To stress the potential value of the purchase, he pointed at people nearby who were draped in a blanket.
He said: "Look, it's P-encrusted!"
Now, I know what he meant. He could have said imprinted or emblazoned but he didn't. Actually, you have to hand it to him. A pee-encrusted blanket probably would do a great job keeping you warm on a cold night, at least for the first few minutes, and providing you don't mind the smell.
© 2011 Mark Feggeler