WTF is a ptarmigans?

November 12, 2010

I was helping Mack with his “5th grade” vocabulary words the other evening after dinner.  All that was required was to write a sentence for each vocabulary word.  I often help Mack with sentence structure because if I didn’t lend a hand, every sentence would sound like this “I have good nation“, “He has a solid” or better yet “My butt is lubricated” (you can probably see why I choose to help him).  Here is how the drill went the other night.

Dad- Dude, The word is environment- “Mankind cares for the environment by recycling garbage” (how’s that for being uber-PC?)

Mack- Too long Dad, how about this- “The environment is nice” (brief and single syllable is Mack’s mantra)

Dad- Right-O buddy I can live with that

(The next word on the vocab list was ptarmigans- I’m not shitting you- I’ve read the word 50 times since that night and I still can’t friggin say it correctly)

Dad-  The next word is p-tarmeeg-ans, fart-nar-geums, puntang-a-reemis, ptarmigans- WTF is a ptarmigans?

Mack- Is that spelled with a “ck” or just a “k” Dad?

Dad- Dude, seriously, what the hell is ptarmigans?

Mack- I don’t think that’s an appropriate sentence either Dad

Question, in what world does a 5th grade boy actually find the opportunity to use a word like “ptarmigans”?

The answer is- none, unless you reside on planet “Nerd” where warring tribes scrabble to the death as a means of resolving  ancestreal feuds.

I’ve been alive for over forty years, traveled to more countries than I care to remember and not once in my life span have I ever found the opportunity, or need, to use this word in a sentence.  Come to think about it, I’ve never heard anyone else use this word either- not even on Discovery channel!  So the question is why is our school system cluttering the limited space left in my kid’s brain housing unit with completely useless words?  Why don’t his educators teach him a word that MAYBE he’ll have a opportunity to use? I think both questions are completely reasonable?  But before I rant further let’s find out just what a ptarmigan is.  Who knows maybe it’s an up-and-coming word that everyone will be using in the very near future- you know, sort of like “Holla”, “Aiight”, “Fo-Shizzle” or even “Snap!”.  It could be that I lack hipness and this word is on the verge of being the next big thing.    Drum roll please- So just what is (are) ptarmigans?



Oh look, it’s a frigging bird.  Now that’s a word my son can use- why not put that on his vocabulary test?  I bet you if he replaced “ptarmigans” with “bird” in casual conversation he would receive a lot fewer ass kickings.

Now that I know what it is let me see if I can correctly use it in a sentence-

“Ptarmigans taste like chicken.”

“Last night I watched the classic Alfred Hitchcock film The Ptarmigans.”

“Look at all of the ptarmigans flying south for the winter” (makes me think of those creepy-ass flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz)

“A giant ptarmigan shit on my windshield” (again imagine a flying monkey dropping a deuce on your vehicle just after you had it waxed)

“A-well-a ptarmigans, ptarmigans, p-ptarmigans the word
A-well-a don’t you know about the ptarmigans?
Well, everybody knows that the partimigans is the word!

That shit doesn’t work either- but if you replaced ptarmigans with the term “bird” that little ditty turns into an iconic song that very nearly defined an entire generation.

Bottom line I don’t like this word- nor do I like those people who do.

BTW, if your some sort of Bird-Guy, don’t bother trying to explain to me why this word is necessary- I ain’t buying what your selling and I will only ridicule you for trying to educate me.  I am un-educatable when it comes to making things more complex than they need to be.

Here’s my moment of tolerance

You like “po-tay-to” and I like “po-tah-to”,
You like “to-may-to” and I like “to-mah-to”;
You like “ptarmigans” and I say shut up it’s a friggin “BIRD”

Guess not, no tolerance tonight- where’s the wine?

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Diane posted the following on November 13, 2010 at 10:37 am.

You so missed out! Had you ever traveled to Alaska when your child was younger, you would have, no doubt, purchased a few paperback books about Alaska and discovered and read about ptarmigans as a native species important in daily diets. I’d give the books titles and author, but they are safely packed away in the attic. They were favorites!

shane posted the following on November 13, 2010 at 2:13 pm.

Are they “Ptarmigan” cook books?

Terrilyn posted the following on November 14, 2010 at 12:24 pm.

Hey Shane, have you heard the word?

I’m with ya my friend!

shane posted the following on November 15, 2010 at 10:08 pm.

Is the word Ptarmigan? If so, why yes I have- apparently it’s a bird that eskimos make hot wings out of in anarctica

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