The Boy Who Cried Hippopotomonstrosesquipedia

Did you know that Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is much more fun to say than Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious? It is.

And did you further know that the word for The Fear of Long Words is: Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia? Yeeeaaaaah. Not Wordophobia, or even the much more merciful to those afflicted, Wordpho. Nope. It's Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia.

Finally, did you know that although Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is a very long word, and even enjoys status as THE longest mostly pronounceable word in the English language, it has been one-upped? And not just a little one-upped, but monstrously one-upped. Like Ninteen-hundred-upped. The very, very, penultimate longest word in the English language is this:

methionylglutaminylarginyltyrosylglutamylserylleucyl phenylalanylalanylglutaminylleucyllysylglutamylarginyl lysylglutamylglycylalanylphenylalanylvalylprolylphenyl alanylvalylthreonylleucylglycylaspartylprolylglycylisol eucylglutamylglutaminylserylleucyllysylisoleucylaspartyl threonylleucylisoleucylglutamylalanylglycylalanylaspartyl alanylleucylglutamylleucylglycylisoleucylprolylphenyl alanylserylaspartylprolylleucylalanylaspartylglycylprolyl threonylisoleucylglutaminylasparaginylalanylthreonylleucyl arginylalanylphenylalanylalanylalanylglycylvalylthreonyl prolylalanylglutaminylcysteinylphenylalanylglutamyl methionylleucylalanylleucylisoleucylarginylglutaminyllysyl histidylprolylthreonylisoleucylprolylisoleucylglycylleucyl leucylmethionyltyrosylalanylasparaginylleucylvalylphenyl alanylasparaginyllysylglycylisoleucylaspartylglutamylphenyl alanyltyrosylalanylglutaminylcysteinylglutamyllysylvalyl glycylvalylaspartylserylvalylleucylvalylalanylaspartylvalyl prolylvalylglutaminylglutamylserylalanylprolylphenylalanyl arginylglutaminylalanylalanylleucylarginylhistidylasparaginyl valylalanylprolylisoleucylphenylalanylisoleucylcysteinyl prolylprolylaspartylalanylaspartylaspartylaspartylleucyl leucylarginylglutaminylisoleucylalanylseryltyrosylglycyl arginylglycyltyrosylthreonyltyrosylleucylleucylserylarginyl alanylglycylvalylthreonylglycylalanylglutamylasparaginyl arginylalanylalanylleucylprolylleucylasparaginylhistidyl leucylvalylalanyllysylleucyllysylglutamyltyrosylasparaginyl alanylalanylprolylprolylleucylglutaminylglycylphenylalanyl glycylisoleucylserylalanylprolylaspartylglutaminylvalyllysyl alanylalanylisoleucylaspartylalanylglycylalanylalanylglycyl alanylisoleucylserylglycylserylalanylisoleucylvalyllysylisol eucylisoleucylglutamylglutaminylhistidylasparaginylisoleucyl glutamylprolylglutamyllysylmethionylleucylalanylalanylleucyl lysylvalylphenylalanylvalylglutaminylprolylmethionyllysyl alanylalanylthreonylarginylserine

It's a protein, since I know you are wondering. And it probably doesn't count as an actual word since it is clearly full of itself and has narcissistic personality disorder, and probably is too mentally ill to be considered a word.

Now. How do I know all these things? 

My son told me.

Yep. My less than 10 year-old son. He just came bouncing into the room–mostly because he's sick and he always bounces when he's sick–flopped onto my bed, and unloaded a portion of his brain onto me. He does this periodically. Like when his head gets so full of all the information he has gathered in the space of the past hour that it is starting to leak out of his ears and nose and all other cranial orifices . If he doesn't find someone to deposit all that priceless info on–stat–his head will explode and the information will be lost forever.

You can't believe the stuff I've learned.

Like, just now, I found out that if you are holding onto fine cotton string really tight, and your sister grabs the other end of it and pulls, and you don't let go, the skin on your fingers will completely disintegrate. Completely. Via friction. And if you continued to hold on, the string would evaporate everything right down to the bone. And then much screaming would ensue.

He knows.

And now I do. And so do you. You avoid skin disintegration by letting go of the string. You don't sprain your tongue by not saying that stupid-long protein. You be kind to word-o-phobes by not calling them silly little Hippopotomonstro-blahblahs. And above all, you write to Walt Disney and tell him to change the Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious song to The Black Lung Disease song. Because that's what Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis means. Black. Lung. Disease. And it's more fun to say.

And that is that.

My kid? He should be bottled and sold.

About Janiel 432 Articles
I have managed to keep the same husband for nearly three decades, and the same four children for almost that long - although one or two of them say it has been much longer. I have been writing since I learned to hold a pencil, and trying to make people laugh even longer. I hope to do some good in the world before I go the way of it. And if not, I'd better at least get to visit Ireland.


  1. Those periodic core dumps amaze me. I’ve been walking every evening and usually my oldest comes with me. It’s great to let her talk and see what she’s been thinking about.

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