Mario Kart Koinages

Attempting to escape the gloomy weather of Washington state’s finest city, Jeff Merrion finds comfort in one of our fondest childhood memories–Mario Kart. The game also proves to be a fertile breeding ground for useful neologisms.

The dreary, dark, and perpetually damp port city of Tacoma offers few weeknight diversions for the underage set. In light of this predicament, my housemates and I have taken to passing many a rain-swept Monday-through-Thursday evening in front of the television (it’s propped up on cinderblocks, of course) trying in vain to recapture the carefree joy of childhood by playing Mario Kart on the Nintendo.

I know what you, the attentive reader, are thinking now: “Shit, this clown’s a loser. I’m going to stop reading now.” But before you do this, realize that a recent radiological study of my body-chemistry revealed that I’m only 20% loser, and also know that Tacoma brings out the hermit in all of us.

With that in mind, I will now outline some of the vernacular that has developed from these evenings of Mario Kart:

Clown (v.) – to hit another character with a Mario Kart weapon (e.g., a magic turtle shell, be it red, green, or blue), thereby incapacitating him/her. Ex: “Oh shit, you just got clowned by Donkey Kong” translates to “Goodness, friend, you have just been hit with a magical tortoise shell that was hurled by a computer-animated monkey. Your life is pathetic. You should consider going outside, where other humans are.”

Get One’s Dick Out of the Bucket (v.) – My 5th grade hockey coach, Mr. Bernice, coined this gem of a colloquialism. Its derivation is unknown. Presumably, to have one’s dick in the bucket is at once unpleasant and indicative of greater personal shortcomings. I can’t think of any reason that anyone’s genitals would ever be in a bucket, so Mr. Bernice’s philosophy makes sense. Ex: “Oh shit, you’re in last place! Get your dick out of the bucket!” translates to “Goodness friend, you’re performing poorly tonight. Perhaps you should rectify your situation. Or better yet, if you truly wish to extract your genitalia from that semi-conical liquid conveyance apparatus, you could leave the house and interact with other humans.”

LBJ (n.) – slang for “Lightning Bolt” which is a particularly brutal weapon in Mario Kart that shrinks the other characters, allowing them to be squashed by a larger kart driver. This is a brilliant play on words that references both former president Lyndon B. Johnson and the weapon at the same time. Ex: “Oh shit, who just used the LBJ?” translates to “Goodness friend, my videogame character has just been shrunk to a comically small size. Which other computer-animated character has done this to me? Oh, how I yearn for vengeance! Or, better yet, how I yearn for human contact!”

Dome (v.) – see clown (v.), above. The derivation of dome is brilliant: the dome refers to the human head. Thus, to “get domed” is to get hit in the head. The term is used abstractly in Mario Kart circles to describe the occurrence of one player being incapacitated by another player’s weapon. It is important not to confuse to “get domed,” a participle, with to “get dome,” a noun. The latter refers to oral sex, while the former refers to the Mario Kart situation. The two are mutually exclusive. Ex. “Oh shit, I just got domed by an LBJ!” translates to “Jiminy Cricket, friend! I have just been incapacitated by a lightning bolt thrown at me by a computer character. Oh, how I wish my corporeal body could be electro-shocked back into normal social functioning!”

[Ed. note: do not mistake the above scenario for one in which a person would "get dome" from LBJ. Yes, we realize that his initials include the letters "BJ," but the Bureau does not now, nor did it ever, endorse presidential necrophilia.]

So there you have it, a sample of the colloquial language that has grown out of the tradition of weeknight Mario Kart in Tacoma. Feel free to use any of these in conversation; they are all great icebreakers.

And let me give a resounding thank you to Tacoma, the City of Destiny (read: Armpit of America) for giving me the opportunity to spend at least a dozen evenings this semester with four other disgruntled out-of-state transplants playing a children’s videogame. God bless you, Tacoma.

While he excels in most other areas, Jeff Merrion’s spatial logic falls within the lower third percentile of United States citizens. He is a Religious Studies major and, as such, has a long life of administrative assistantship awaiting him. To potential employers: Jeff makes a mean cup of coffee.