One of the great things about languages is that some words and phrases can have multiple meanings. This is especially true of English, since we have borrowed so much from so many other languages. As writers, this allows us a lot of freedom to play with words, utilizing double-entendres, puns, malapropisms, malaphors, and other sorts of wordplay.
These are all time-tested types of wordplay that are well-recognized. I’ll have a few posts about some of them later, but today I would like to suggest another one, the baguette. I have to specify, before you read any further, that the baguette is not an “officially” recognized part of speech or form of wordplay.
In my novel, If a Butterfly, there is a scene where Dick and Jane Jarvis are about to go up in a hot air balloon. The novel is full of coincidences of various kinds, and the day before the balloon ride, the couple accidentally kidnapped a butterfly and drove it hundreds of miles out of its migration path. Jane spots a picture of a butterfly on the side of the balloon and mentions it to Dick, who calls it a baguette. She is confused, naturally, so he explains that it’s from an old TV show. Dick says the main character’s wife hears the word baguette and doesn’t know what it is. He tells her it’s a type of diamond cut, and over the next few days, the wife sees and hears the word everywhere she goes. Dick explains that the word has always been out there, but she just never noticed it before, and finishes by saying…
“So, whenever that happens and you start seeing stuff over and over again, it’s called a baguette moment.”
“Then this isn’t a baguette moment,” Jane said.
“Well, because we both already know what a butterfly is, and we’ve both seen pictures of butterflies and real butterflies before, so just because we see butterflies two days in a row doesn’t mean it’s a baguette moment.”
“Oh,” said Dick, who knew better than to argue with Jane when he didn’t have a leg to stand on.
In other words, it can’t be a baguette moment if you’re already familiar with the object in question. I suspect that small children must have tons of baguette moments during their discovery process.
Do you have any baguette moment stories? Please share.