You might be thinking this is an ode to snacks or perhaps a specific snack. Sorry, no. But that, is a great idea for another time. This is a reflection on the word itself…
The past couple of weeks I’ve been obsessed with the word snack. It’s not just because I love me a good snack, it’s honestly the word itself.
Drawing out the s like I’m winding up my arm to crack a whip, “ack” coming out quickly like a whip making contact: Sssnack.
Snack. The entire word spoken quickly.
Drawing out the vowel: snaack.
I found myself playing with all the sound variations and mouth feels (much like a fine wine only this is more of a word bird exercise). The word snack randomly coming to mind followed by an occasional utterance.
And yes, Chief thought I’d lost my marbles. I got an eye roll when I mentioned how much I enjoyed the word.
Again, without context.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the weird and archaic words. A lot. I totally enjoyed this post by Merriam-Webster on Instagram, bonus that it features Moira from Schitt’s Creek in all her glory.
But every once in a while a regular ol’, every day word strikes me. Usually because it looks “wrong,” and I spend a lot of time staring, thinking that I’ve misspelled it.
Not the case with my friend snack.
I wondered about this obsession and its origins. It’s been a fortnight of bandying this about and I’ve come to the conclusion that it wasn’t a word used in my childhood household. Ever, really.
How could this be, you ask?
We just spoke about food in a different, more specific way. My mom was the food as love person, offering up specific creations or store bought things called by their names (or her names for them–she occasionally mixed things up). I suppose, because of that, “snack” felt like an American-specific term to me growing up—that feeling sticks hard to this day.
However, I also remember the one friend who used that word indiscriminately. Aside from eating, I never knew what she meant, despite the time of day.
Me: I’m hungry, want to grab some lunch?
Her: I’m hungry, let’s get a snack.
Her use of that word was so generic. Vague. Was this a full-on meal or something to tide you over? The difference was especially important for a grazer during the in-between meal times…are we eating dinner early or are you being for real with the snack thing? I’m very fortunate that I didn’t grow up with food insecurity, otherwise this would’ve been a whole different ball of wax.
“Snack” feels akin to Texans and “Coke.” Our Texan friends schooled us on that beverage years ago—all soda was a “coke.”
You want a coke?
What kind of coke do you want?
Yeah, that one stuck with me for a good while, too.
There’s an entire mini world behind these single words backed by communal understanding. Since these aren’t necessarily “my” words it does different things to me when I hear them, depending on the context.
However, back to snack. It’s interesting that snack wasn’t really in my family of origin’s lexicon.
I’ve certainly rectified that situation post-haste and perhaps “posthumously” made up for lost time these past few weeks with my varied repetition of this word. I may have finally shaken it out of my system. But don’t you worry, my brain will latch onto something else.
I’ll keep you posted.
Some questions for you: Do you have a word that pushes at you? A favorite snack? Also, do you see the turtle eating fire in the cloud image?
Let me know in the comments–I love to hear your stories!