Knee-mail

Knee-mail?“Portmanteau” always sounded to me a like a fancy place to dock your Parisian dinghy (this is where you sneeze “Euphemism!” and I say “Gesundteit.”). It’s a sly word coined by Lewis Carroll, of Alice in Wonderland fame, which apparently refers to “two meanings packed into one word” a la the French suitcase comprised of two conjoined compartments from which it borrows its name. Not to continue the William Safire act – but to make portmanteau plural, you add an “x” to the end, which makes it all the cooler in my book (possible title: “Portmanteaux: The Daedalus Howell Reader – Abridged.”

I embarked on this train of thought when strolling up First Street East and noticed a a sign on the lawn of a church that read “God answers knee-mail.” I thought ‘Hmm, there’s got to be a word to describe a pun predicated on two separate words’ – that’s if e-mail (once upon a time “electronic mail,” I suppose) even qualifies as two separate words. I’ve noted similar variations before: I once overheard a dog-owner comment that their hydrant-sniffing pet was checking its “pee-mail.” Whatever. Knee-mail may or may not qualify as a portmanteau, but then depending on who your God is, knee-mail also may or may not be a reference to prayer. Gesundteit.

Another thing: Soccer moms — send your Sonoma Valley Youth Soccer Association mail to Box 658, Sonoma, CA 95476 — not Box 653, which is where I collect your fan mail, prayers, etc.

2 Comments

  1. daedalus,
    Hey man, I just thought I'd drop you a note, i really enjoy your writing. I
    found myself once again sitting here at the computer, punching in your site and
    reading and laughing. just had to pass it on. hope your well and your new year
    is good. I'm floating between L.A. and the bay right now, mostly L.A. because
    there is more work here and one must pay the bills. take care,
    josh

  2. daedalus,
    Hey man, I just thought I’d drop you a note, i really enjoy your writing. I
    found myself once again sitting here at the computer, punching in your site and
    reading and laughing. just had to pass it on. hope your well and your new year
    is good. I’m floating between L.A. and the bay right now, mostly L.A. because
    there is more work here and one must pay the bills. take care,
    josh

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