Saturday, October 01, 2005

Unbagging the X-Cat

I recently felt compelled to apologize to a friend for, I feared, publicizing his private affairs. He enjoys a budding romance with a lucky—but deserving!—young lady. Thoughtlessly celebrating their mutual affections, I'd perhaps disclosed too much about it to third parties, some of whom, unfortunately, show a morbid interest in such matters.

The situation called for delicate wording. Since I wasn't yet sure I'd caused offense, I had to go easy on the self-mortification. Yet I had to express genuine concern that I might have aggrieved my friend. Instead, I opted for this: "I sincerely apologize if I wrongfully debagged your love cat."

With those words, I realized later, I'd botched the job. A careful writer would never join the pious "I sincerely apologize" with the lawyerly "if I wrongfully" and cap it with the ridiculous "debagged your love cat." It sounds like something Austin Powers would say if he were being tried for tortious infliction of mojo. "I deeply regret that Ms. Cleopatra mistook my unintentional brushing for . . . a shagalicious booty bump, baby!"

Why didn't I pen a more appropriate apology? I guess that my love of neologisms got the best of me. I just couldn't resist unrolling the usage, "unbagging the x-cat." Although it sounds especially good joined with "love"—I vividly picture a foxy feline (if that's not a biological impossibility) strutting out of loosed sack—I can imagine many other applications.

In a typical afternoon at our law school: "Dude, you totally unbagged the prank cat! What am I supposed to do with all of these ducks, now?"

In a newspaper headline: "Unbagged Bribe Cat Stalks Senate."

In legal documents: "By signing this agreement, I affirm my understanding that unbagging any trade secret cat owned by Nanobucks, Inc., its affiliates, or its successor in interest, may subject me to termination, monetary damages, and/or an injunction on obtaining like employment from any competing entity for a reasonable time."

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