Metro paid an advertising agency to come up with its "Sniglets" campaign. I got you to do the work for free or, at most, for the slim chance that your name would be in the paper or you might snag a free lunch.
Who, I wonder, paid too much?
If you don't ride a Metro train or bus, you may not have seen the Sniglets, which are "wacky" words and definitions that are meant to improve behavior among us straphangers. For example:
"Sumpnspicious: n. unattended package or odd, unusual behavior that is reported to a bus driver, train operator (via intercom at end of rail car), station manager or Metro Police at 202-962-2121."
Leaving aside for a moment whether the cutesy-sounding "sumpnspicious" is an appropriate way to address a possible terrorist attack in the subway, I knew that you could do better. I asked for neologisms to describe certain annoying Metro experiences. Here are my favorites:
The feeling you get when the Farecard machine repeatedly rejects every bill in your wallet:
indollarable -- Jamie Shoemaker, Arlington
billfuddled -- Peg Blomme, Vienna
unpresidented -- Joe Godles, Bethesda
billimic -- Kevin Dopart, Washington
fareannoyed -- Howard Walderman, Columbia
The act of pretending to be asleep, with your briefcase on the seat beside you, so no one will sit next to you:
SamsoNight -- Justin Barber, Alexandria
narcoklepsy -- Kevin Dopart, Washington
usurpossuming -- Mary Kay August, Frederick
bull-dozing -- Seth Brown, North Adams, Mass. (first among many others). Seth also added sleepbensraum, the free space you hope to achieve by bull-dozing.
The smelly, scary and manifestly unpleasant person who sits next to you anyway:
scummuter -- Stephen Dudzik, Olney
Metroll -- Sam Householder, Austin
A person who stands to the left on an escalator, blocking commuters behind him.
escaloiter -- Jamie Shoemaker, Arlington
impedestrian -- Steve Wall, Seabrook
tourist -- Christine Adams, Medford, Mass.
A bus rider who opens the window when you want it closed or closes it when you want it open:
contrairian -- Sidney Secular, Silver Spring (first among many others)
windowpain -- Steve Fahey, Kensington
And Now, a Few Words From You
I invited readers to submit their own words and definitions that get to the peculiar joys and sorrows of riding public transportation in Washington. My favorites:
uncranny: the ability to stuff a large newspaper so far into the narrow slit between the window seat and the train car's wall that it is hardly visible. -- Sidney Secular, Silver Spring
dingbrat: the annoying person who wedges him/herself into a Metro car at the very last minute, delaying everyone, long after the "Ding-DING . . . Doors closing" has sounded. -- Patricia A. Lee, Centreville
metronumb: dazed by Metro's ding-dong chimes. -- Hank Wallace, Washington
adenoying: sleeping on a train with your mouth wide open and snoring. -- Judith Cottrill, the Bronx
aisle-y cat: a standing passenger who resists herding to the center of a Metrorail car to relieve crowding in the doorway. -- Art Stern, Arlington
iClods: headphone-wearing riders who seem unaware that their volume is turned up so loud others can identify the song. -- Justin Barber, Alexandria
touristerol: clumps of tourists that hinder circulation at train doors, on platforms and especially on the narrow arteries of escalators. -- Mike Conroy, Laytonsville
limbnast: a person who dashes onto the train using his arms or legs to force back the closing doors. -- Hazel E. Williams, Washington
Finally, Phil Frankenfeld of Washington is my grand prize winner for his neologism describing the joy we feel in other's pain when the Metro train door closes on them: shutonfreude.
Thanks to everyone who participated.
First a trickle, then a deluge. That's how our campaign to raise money for Children's Hospital typically goes. But I'd be quite happy to start with a deluge and follow with more deluge. That's because we need to raise $600,000 by Jan. 20.
We close out our first week with a total of $8,606.31. Thanks to everyone who's participated in this most worthwhile endeavor. Here's how to make your tax-deductible donation:
Make a check or money order payable to "Children's Hospital" and mail it to Washington Post Campaign, P.O. Box 17390, Baltimore, Md. 21297-1390.
Go online to www.washingtonpost.com/ childrenshospital and click on "Make a Donation."
To contribute by Visa or MasterCard by phone, call 202-334-5100 and follow the instructions on the recorded message.
A correction: In yesterday's story about the heart operations that saved the life of Sean Campbell, we misidentified the doctor who performed the cardiac catheterization. It was Dr. Michael Slack, director of the cardiac catheterization laboratories at Children's Hospital.
Submit your own clever Metro neologisms, or discuss anything else that's on your mind, during my weekly online chat. It's today at 1 p.m. at www.washingtonpost.com/liveonline.