Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 01.25.08
Stanstead, Quebec


Tragedy tomorrow, squirmedy tonight

STANSTEAD, QC | This column is satellite 6!

Yeah, that's right, "satellite 6." It means outstanding, out of this world, way out, even wayer out than satellite 5. Use this expression often. Impress your friends. Or possibly confuse them. Either way, they'll be overwhelmed by how unbearably hip you are. Or possibly just how unbearable.

Try it:

"Have you heard the new CD by Cardholding Communist Cretins? It is so satellite 6."

"Dude, check out my lobotomy scar. Is that satellite 6 or what?"

"Sputnik? Totally satellite 6!"

Won't your friends be amazed? Look at them staring at you. They're at a loss for words. They're walking away.

What is the origin of this expression, you ask.

To answer, we have to go back a few months. My daughter Kate and I were walking through a mall when we saw a photo of a model who looked like someone we know.

"Can you imagine if it really was her?" Kate mused. "We could go up to her and say, 'Oh my gosh, you're so famous. I mean, I totally know you're satellite 6."

"Is that the new expression?" I asked.

"What do you mean?" Kate asked.

"Satellite 6. Is that what the kids are saying these days?"

"I didn't say, satellite 6. I said, "I've totally known you since you were like 6."

"Oh," I said. "Still, I like it. 'You are so satellite 6!' It could work..."

It's not like the world needs yet another word to mean "really good." I think English long ago found its masterpiece in that all-purpose seal of approval, the perennially popular "cool."

And we certainly don't need expressions like "off the hook." I heard this one on the radio not long ago. Some guy told the interviewer that his New Year's Eve party was going to be "off the hook."

I punched the radio.

If you say "off the hook," meaning "wicked good," and do so without the least bit of irony, you are a dink. That's all I have to say about that, dawg.

In fact, very few people can get away with using trendy slang. I am not one of them. This is because I am old and unpierced. I have neither tats nor cred, which means I must never ever say "tats" or "cred."

I can get away with an occasional "awesome" or possibly a "sweet," as in "They've invented hangover-free beer? Sweet!" But watch what happens when I attempt to "get down" with the young folks in their own "hipster lingo":

"Those uggs you're wearing are da bomb, fashizzle!"

Look at them staring. They're at a loss for words. They're walking away. Plus I think someone just punched the newspaper.

We don't need it and I certainly shouldn't say it. So why should I care about a dink-worthy expression like "satellite 6"?

Because I made it up. And it would be very cool (there's that word again!) to coin a word or expression that actually enters popular usage.

This is easier said than done. The New York Time recently listed the buzzwords of 2007. Very few of them, though, are likely to stick. For example, does anyone really use the ambiguously pronounced "mobisode" ("A short version of a full-length television show or movie, suitable for playing on a mobile phone or other hand-held electronic device")? Besides dinks, that is? It's certainly no "blog" and it ain't no "brokeback."

I thought I had one a while back. I was watching one of those comedies that make you laugh and cringe at the same time. I came up with a perfect word for it: squirmedy.

I was feeling pretty proud of myself. And then I Googled "squirmedy." It turns out it's been around at least since May 2006. Granted, my Google search turned up only six results, which means I'm part of a pretty tiny group of like-minded and possibly deranged people. Still, it's disappointing.

So instead of inventing a genuinely useful word, I'll have to settle for "satellite 6" - something inane, essentially meaningless and slightly embarrassing. You know, like this column.