The Importance of Wow

May 31 2011

Puff pastry is a miracle food.

I’ve fantasized for years about making an entire meal, from appetizers to dessert, using puff pastry as the essential ingredient in every course.

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts
Beef Wellington
Arugula & Candied Pecan Salad with Parmesan Cheese Pastry Twists
Puff Pastry Napoleons layered with jam and cream

 

Mmmm.  Puff pastry.  It goes well with everything.

Well, WOW is the puff pastry of words.  And what I love about it is this… it can be Good Wow or it can be Bad Wow, and only the Speaker of the Wow knows which.

You can build an entire verbal menu full of Wow.

Sad?  Say, “Wow.”
Shocked?  Say, “Wow.”
Ecstatic?  Say, “Wow.”
Dismayed?  Say, “Wow.”

 

I learned the importance of Wow many years ago when I started to watch NFL football on TV.

I wanted to bond with my husband.  To like what he likes.  To not rush the TV in slow motion every Sunday afternoon yelling, “Nooooooooo!”

Oh, I was a passing acquaintance of football.  We nodded to each other at the grocery store.  But I faked a real in-depth understanding of the game for years and years.

I explained to Greg my main football confusion.

See, football is kind of like pinochle and the church.  It has its own complex language, complicated rules and strange nuances, and, if you’re not in the “in” crowd – if you weren’t raised with football from a young age – then you have no IDEA what the heck is going on.  Or where to start.  Or what you’re going to say that’s dumb.

Is this the part of the game when we stand up?  Sit down?  Chant?  Fold?  Run?  Yell? As my two-year-old niece says, “I just no KNOW!”

Fortunately, in football, pinochle and the church, you just have to find yourself an evangelist.  Someone who’s willing to let you in on all the jargon and convince you of the inherent beauty, order, and love you’ll find therein.

When I began my football conversion, Greg was my evangelist.  And he was very zealous.  Greg pretty much tied me to a rock and pushed me into the football deep end.

It wasn’t his fault, really.  Greg just thinks that everyone wants to drown in an enormous, bubbling vat of knowledge.

See, Greg’s intellectual pool only has a deep end, so gently dangling toes to test the water before wading ankle-deep isn’t him.  Which I mostly blame on the fact that he doesn’t drink beer.  Giant vats of knowledge come from not killing brain cells.

I, on the other hand, like to bask in a plastic, blow-up kiddie pool of knowledge.

So when Greg pulled out his Football Bible and started telling me about downs, wide receivers, punting, and tight ends, I felt a touch bewildered.  But it’s OK.  No need to worry about me.  I knew how to compensate just fine.  I just started telling Greg about matte lipstick, underwire, pantyliners with wings, and why short women over 30 years old shouldn’t wear drop-waist anything.  And then he looked at me like I was lookin’ at him.  Confused.

At that point, my brother, who was there to hear the whole thing (sorry, Jeffy), intervened.  Which was fantastic, because Jeff has a shallow end.  He popped his beer top and sat down in the kiddie pool with me.

And that’s where Jeff taught me my first Football Watching Survival Skill.

The Importance of Wow; the world’s most amazing all-purpose word.

Wow is good.  And Wow is bad.  And there’s simply no football situation that can’t take a little Wow.

It’s like this:

  • a guy fumbles the football (go with me on this – you don’t have to know what fumble means, although if you’ve ever given a toddler a lidless glass of red juice on white carpet, I bet you already know)…
  • and the room explodes into high volume chaos…
  • and you can’t tell whether the shouts are good or bad — whether they wanted the guy to fumble or not…
  • and you have NO IDEA what to do…

Enter the Wow.

You just yell right along with ’em, “WOW!  Wow, wow, wow!”

And you suddenly look like you know your game.

Or:

  • a guy makes a touchdown…
  • but you don’t know whether it’s your team or the other team that just scored…
  • the room erupts into shouts…
  • and you have NO IDEA what to do…

It’s time for the Wow.  “WOW!  Wow, wow, wow!”

Pretty cool, huh?

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that Wow isn’t all rainbows and kittens.  It’s so good in so very many situations that you might be tempted to overuse it.

For example:

  • a tight end runs across the screen…
  • and you yell, “WOW! Wow, wow, wow!”…
  • and not a single other person is makin’ a peep….
  • and, instead of staring at that tight end, they seem to be staring at you…
  • except your husband who is shaking his head in public endorsement of your shame (but who is also surreptitiously gesturing to his own fine tush)…

Well, you might’ve fumbled the Wow.  You might’ve overindulged the Wow.  You might have the teensiest, tiniest stomach ache from partaking of the Wow menu.

But it’s hard to be sorry when the Wow is Just. So. Delicious.

Here I am, more than a decade later, with a lot of Wows – in football and in life – under my belt.  Sure; there’ve been a few fumbles along the way.  But I’ll have you know, my football conversion is complete.

I love football.  I love the competition.  I love the jargon.  I love the nuance.  I love the noise.

I love telling my kids that Mommy and Daddy are hogging the TV all Sunday afternoon, and they should go play outside if they don’t want to rot their brains.

In fact, I even won my fantasy football league a few years back.  Of course, that was before my league had a trophy, so I didn’t get all the recognition that accomplishment deserved.  But I’m not bitter.  (Read: So. Bitter.)

My acceptance speech, if I’d had the chance to give one upon receipt of the trophy I didn’t get, would have been dedicated to the Power of Wow.

For the Wow is how it all began.

…….

Stay tuned tomorrow for a very brief lesson in applying the Wow to the raising of children.