Anyone who knows me is familiar with my hobby of playing with language and inventing new words.
Once, while walking down a series of “people mover” moving sidewalks in the Minneapolis airport, I was in such a hurry to get to my gate that I didn’t notice the next moving sidewalk was not working.
When I stepped on that sidewalk, I suffered from disorientation due to “anticipation bias” because I expected it to be moving when I stepped on it. Having mentally and physically prepared for the motion of the floor under me, landing on that stationary floor caused me to become so disoriented that I nearly fell down.
After recovering from my disorientation, I thought to myself that there must be a word for the odd sensation I had just experienced.
Dizzyness? No. Even the highbrow “vertigo” didn’t seem to do it, but was close.
Finally, I came upon “Horizontigo” which to my unusual mind seemed perfectly descriptive of the spatial confusion I felt earlier.
So last night at bedtime, I was so tired that my venerable and threadbare grey Army PT t-shirt, pressed into service as pajamas, ended up on my upper torso inside out. I didn’t notice until morning and when I did, the needle on my give-a-BLEEP meter didn’t rise enough to convince me to make the effort correct my error of the evening before.
I let the sleeping inside-out dogface lie, so to speak.
After achieving a level of consciousness that made me aware of my need to visit the “Little Writers” room, I made the first visit of the morning. Having finished my business, I noticed the faded out letters of the word “ARMY” on the (inside) front of the shirt as I walked by the mirror.
But something wasn’t right. I was instantly confused.
I turned around and walked back to the mirror and it took a second or two to figure out what was the discrepancy my mind had noticed a moment before….
Finally, it dawned on me that I should be seeing the word, “ARMY” backwards because I was looking in the mirror but it was perfectly frontwards. Why? Because the shirt was inside out, making the letters backwards before the image hit the mirror. So the image I saw in the mirror was the corrected image, as I should see a right-side-out shirt without a mirror.
It didn’t register right in my mind and I had to stop and look again because I was, again, disoriented but this time mentally.
And it wasn’t long before I determined that there is now a need for a new word to describe this new flavor of spatial confusion.
And the word I came up with was….
Wait for it….
I crack myself up.