Nov 17

Smrobably, Origins

Category: nostalgia

OMG when I unearthed this picture, I involuntarily lurched into full-body cackling. No, listen, Linda. Linda, listen. You have no idea the significance of this. June 1992, weekend road trip to Lake Chataugua for Liz’s birthday, accompanied by our other pal Kim; Liz’s parents and younger sister, Jane; and their golden retriever whose name I honestly cannot believe I momentarily forgot.

But before I tell you, can we first appreciate my denim shirt from Merry-Go-Round (probably, I’m assuming – that was my favorite place to shop in 1992 and also where I would later discover Cross Colors and Karl Kani and undergo a full-fledged lifestyle change which is something that probably doesn’t sound like me AT ALL), my TWA travel bag from a previous trip to Europe with my grandparents (UGH I WISH I STILL HAD THIS) with my vacation journal tucked like precious cargo in the front pocket, MY BANGS AND STUPID BUMP-THING THAT I ALWAYS DID (also, this was my SECOND PERM as if getting ONE PERM wasn’t enough for an entire lifetime and beyond), and in my hands is my Walkman which has one of two cassingles in it: “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men, or “Damn…” by Sophie B. Hawkins. When I say those are the only two songs I listened to over and over that weekend, I am being sincere and without an ounce of hyperbole, not even a spittle of exaggeration.

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(OK, I also listened to the “Damn…” b-side A LOT too.

OK OK OK, so this picture cracked me up so hard because this was the day that my all-time favorite non-word was accidentally created.

Basically, Jane meant to say “probably,” but then she said “smrobably” instead. That’s it – that is the whole fucking story. Something that took exactly one second to enfold has made this much of a lasting impression on me that I THINK ABOUT IT SO OFTEN and even sometimes say it without even thinking! If I recall, Jane got pissed at some point because we wouldn’t stop saying “smrobably” and then she and Liz got in a fight about it and also this was the weekend that I learned what “unilateral” meant, through the context of Liz’s mom yelling at her for making unilateral decisions.

And then there was the whole PANOVISION debacle that is also something that I think of A LOT. Basically, it rained the whole time we were at Lake Chataugua so we decided to go to the movies at some point. I can’t remember what else was playing but it must have been really dumb stuff for us to unanimously agree to see Far and Away (or maybe it was just Liz who chose it and this was the impetus to the infamous unilateral decision dressing-down??), the very forgettable Cruise/Kidman movie.

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Kim was like going off the rails, gushing about how this was going to be so exciting because it was filmed in PANOVISION, so then Liz and I were like stoked too and the whole time we were watching it, I kept waiting for something to happen? Like, something pano-y? BUT IT JUST LOOKED LIKE A REGULAR MOVIE!?!? Ever since then, I notice the stupid “Panovision” logo at the end of like, EVERY MOVIE IN EXISTENCE, and it reanimates my annoyance all over again.

I texted this Lake Chataugua picture IMMEDIATELY to Henry with the caption “smrobably” and he was like, “???” WHY, AFTER 21 YEARS, CAN HE STILL NOT ACCEPT THAT THIS IS BASICALLY A CORNERSTONE OF MY LINGUISITIC HISTORY, A STAPLE IN MY VOCAB.

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(I think he’d like to put a staple in my tongue sometimes when I get on these smrobably kicks.)


(Wait, did we spell it “smrobably” or “smrobly”???)

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