A Parkersburg Vocabulary

Sad Fingers (sad-fin-gurs) n. Nostalgia for an old area code. Ex: “He has sad fingers.”

Hoxter (hock-stur) n. A fellow who lacks the energy to live up to his own sociopathic heritage.

Roycambellside (roy-cam-bul-zid) adv. or adj. To be in the vicinity of Roy Campbell.

Blue Emberton (blu-embr-tun) n. A wealthy man who subsidizes his own murder, often through the employment of an idle hoxter.

Dratchell (dratch-ll) n. A piano tuned to the shadows cast on a vacant lot.

Cloud’s Index (klowdz-in-dex) n. Spiral-bound notebook listing the names of people who have never returned Fred J. Cloud’s phone calls.

Pollygosters (poli-gos-turz) n. Tiny candy construction hats tossed out to children from the Persevering Light Pencil Company’s float during the Clown Baking Days Parade.

Dorchester Reproach (dorch-est-ur reap-roach) n.: Dismay at the enthusiasms of poor people.

Multipulchomy (mul-tee-pulko-mee) n. The performance of plastic surgery on a crowd; first tested at Parkersburg Civic Center in July of 2006.

Disinfecting the Toy (dis-sen-fect-in thu toy) v. The nightly pond-side ejaculation of subdivision security guard Jimmy Food Hill onto the head or back of a swan.

Quadriplegic Beekeeper (kwad-ruh-puh-lee-gic beak-eaper) n. Door County slang for an ineffective person; a poor employee.

Galsworthy Rideout (gals-wurthy rye-dout) n. A locally-built electronic circuit that allows pinball machines to speak in contractions.

Acroplarf (akro-plarf) n. 1. German aspirin manufacturer’s waltz, usually played on an upright dratchell. 2. Suicide pact written by teenagers on parchment paper with goose quills.

Emberdome (embur-dom) n. An arena built on the Techwood Industries campus for the purpose of crushing employee suggestions.

Door County Hum (dork-ownty hum) n. A sensation often experienced by area men while wearing bathrobes; that they have suddenly been transformed into little terrycloth churchbells, inside of which their balls jingle jangle when they walk.

Tohapaxno’s Bias (toe-ha-pax-noze bi-us) n. The bothersome late-night invocation of Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, by Mixed Emotions bartender, Jim Tohapaxno.

Hobbledehoys (hobbul-dee-hoiz) n. Crowd-control tacos distributed by Parks and Rec. Department vans during the state butterfly census.

Polish Infinity (poal-ish in-fin-uh-ti) n. 1. Cologne imprinted on an empty elevator. 2. The nowhere vibe of a new megastore. 3. The EKG of a boulder or large stone.

Wobbling Drabarcism (wob-bling drab-bers-sizm) n. The unwillingness or inability to give men named Lou a chance.


Megan Milks is the author of Margaret and the Mystery of the Missing Body (Feminist Press, 2021), a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in transgender fiction, as well as Slug and Other Stories and Remember the Internet: Tori Amos Bootleg Webring.

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