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Published March 06 2011

Swift: Flood fight has its own language

All this talk of snowpack, snow-ripening and “probabilistic outcomes” has me confused.

I can’t keep on top of all these flood-related terms. If they aren’t turning a noun into a verb (palletizing), they’re using words you need a meteorology degree to understand.

So I have – with a little help from newsroom friends – coined a more accessible “floodcabulary” of my own.

Let’s hope we get lucky and don’t have to use it.

Bagrants: People who spend so much time toiling at sandbagging sites that they never go home.

Crestival: The point at which the water finally starts going down and people start cracking beers. Then it’s officially time for a neighborhood “crestival.”

Dam Yankees: Northerners who live in flood-prone areas. (See also: “The Down-Sodden.”)

Dike-otomy: A dike that separates a neighborhood, protecting some homes and leaving others on the wet side, creating a “dike-otomy.”

Dining alHESCO: Gobbling down chow from the Salvation Army truck while sandbagging.

The Down-Sodden: People who get hit by floods year after year.

Facebeg: Using social networking sites to drum up friends to help you sandbag.

FEMA donna: Someone who thinks FEMA should cut them a check the minute their basement is damp. “DON’T YOU KNOW I’M A FLOOD VICTIM?!”

Flood brothers: Neighbors who bond by fighting the flood together.

Floodsuckers: Homeowners who allow their pampered teens to sit in their homes and play Wii while perfect strangers break their backs sandbagging their homes.

High-ku: A brief Japanese poem about your flood experience.

PTFD: Post-traumatic flood disorder. PTFD sufferers may keep their sandbag dikes up year-round, insist on wearing waders around the clock and refuse to eat any food that isn’t served from a Salvation Army truck.

River mortis: Someone who is so paralyzed by PTFD that he just sits in his Barca-Lounger and watches the river rise.

Sandblaster: The jerk in the sandbagging line who throws the bag with unnecessary force.

Soak-crates: Anyone who gets especially philosophical about the flood. The neighborhood Soak-crates will utter things like: “The real lesson is to love one another,” or “Would we appreciate a peach so much if it did not have a stone?” They also may write curiously uplifting High-kus.

Sog-nosticate: Those who like to make predictions about flooding, based on snowmelt, warming trends and what their buddy Earl said at coffee yesterday.

State of Den: Anyone who can channel the “If it happens, we’ll deal” spirit of Mayor Denny Walaker. Sustained possession of this peaceful attitude may qualify you as a “Den master.” (See also: Soak-crates.)

Sumpchumps: People who have one very old sump pump and yet believe it will keep their basement perfectly dry.

Tieback Levee: We’re still not really sure what this is. Rumor has it he played baseball with Satchel Paige.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Tammy Swift at (701) 241-5525