I love word play. I'm a writer, how can I not? So when my husband and I went to DC last weekend to attend three games between the Braves and the Nationals, he watched the baseball game and I watched the people, especially the ones who wore t-shirts displaying the word "Natitude."
What a word, this combination of hometeam Nationals coupled with the emotions assigned to attitude. Natitude, an expression of optimism and fortitude and, well, attitude! It's an announcement in a "Look out, people, here I come" kind of statement. Full of energy, that word. Full of the brashness of youth, too. To be crammed into the Metro with thousands of red shirted people with Natitude is quite the experience, believe me.
Of course that word play wouldn't work for the Braves. I don't think Bratitude would send the same kind of positive message to the world. I pull for the Braves, but I wouldn't even cheer once for the Brats.
It's all in the usage.
I learned that word play lesson not too long after Lessons Learned was published. My husband was reading it and enjoying the real book instead of a flat manuscript, when he shouted, "Found a mistake."
There it was, "The Three Baers."
But wait. That was intentional. It was the title of a book by Bertha Moore, of the Pilot Mountain area, an author who paid frequent visits to the school. She didn't coin the word. It was a family name, German in derivation. Baer. She borrowed it, word played with it to develop a story around a set of triplets with the last name Baer.
My mistake wasn't in using the word. My mistake was in not explaining the spelling of the word to the reader. Lessons learned there.
Natitude, on the other hand, doesn't need much explaining. All it takes is being at a ball game surrounded by thousands and its context is obvious.
Catch of the day,