I was trying to think of the term used to describe words that essentially mean what they sound like. My colleague, Allison McDonough – another promising star from the Boston University galaxy – immediately knew the word: Onomatopoeia. For example, the word mews sounds exactly like the sound a cat makes when it is mewing.
Watching the Charlie Sheen interview on 20/20 last night I got to thinking that this is what drug abuse actually sounds like and looks like. You could listen to this while outside the TV room and not even know who was speaking and you would know that even if this guy passed a drug test (which apparently he did), he is the sound and sight of drug abuse.
So, let’s add his name to the dictionary. For example, someone who is hell bent to ingest huge quantities of narcotics in a short amount of time would be “sheening.” Or that ghastly color on Charlie’s face last night while he was madly waving his arms was a “drug sheen;” the past tense for the act of getting completely wasted is getting “sheened.”
You can make up your own variations for other celebrity situations. How about the two nitwits who were walking down the street one day in Dallas, Texas and decided to pull knives on a solitary figure just walking along the street by himself? These guys were pretty good sized and the lone guy was small, so hard could this be? Well, these two would-be assailants ended up getting “Chucked,” as in the solitary figure walking down the road that night was Chuck Norris, star of Walker, Texas Ranger. What is even funnier about this story is that Norris said they knew who he was and called him by name while demanding his money. Before he broke their arms and left them deeply regretful waiting for the police to show up, he did ask them “Are you insane?” Apparently they were because they were convinced his character on TV pretended to have multiple black belts in karate. And then he made believers out of them both when he “chucked” them for all they were worth.
Now, if you were looking for an ideal PR client, you would of course prefer Chuck Norris to Charlie Sheen. But Chuck didn’t need any public relations help for that incident. Sheen, on the other hand, is a complete train wreck and is being wrung out for all his ratings worth by TV networks that ought to know the difference between a celebrity and a mentally unstable man. (To note: His long time publicist respectfully resigned Tuesday). And now he’s taken to Twitter.
Make up your own onomatopoeia. How about something for “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who landed his commercial airliner on the Hudson River two years ago and saved the lives of more than 150 people on board? Charlie wasn’t on the plane that day, but someone needs to rescue this guy before he turns up in a morgue.