There’s A Word For That – "Saudade"

Certain words and phrases in many of the world’s languages have no direct English equivalents.

What’s a nakhur? It’s a Persian word that identifies camels which will not give milk until their noses are tickled. We’re doing OK without that one.

The Japanese expression katahara itai means laughing so hard for so long that one side of your abdomen hurts. English is the native language of Larry David and Sarah Silverman, so we could use a phrase like that.

Uitwaaien is Dutch for “walking in windy weather just for the hell of it.”

Tingo is a word in the Pascuense language that means “to steal objects from your neighbor’s house one by one until there is nothing left.”

The English word Nostalgia was created from two Greek root words: one that means “returning home” and one that means “pain,” a suffix you know about if you’ve ever suffered from neuralgia (nerve pain), myalgia (muscle pain), otalgia (ear pain), or bussosalgia, a word I just made up using the Greek root for “bottom,” i.e., a pain in the ass.

While there may well be pain or longing associated with some forms of nostalgia, in everyday usage, nostalgia is not considered unpleasant.

The Portuguese to our rescue!

Saudade describes “a mixture of happy and sad feelings focused on days gone by.” Saudade also includes a dash of hope that whatever is “missing” or “longed for” …might one day return. And actually, in one form or another, a lot of stuff has returned.

Say, for example, that you loved the music of The Beatles, but the 301 officially released songs are starting to wear a bit thin. I find that The Spongetones CD I purchased from Not Lame effectively transforms painful nostalgia into Portuguese saudade. Beach Boys fans who miss their baseball cards should apply to Jeffery Foskett, another musical artist that Not Lame can tell you about. You can buy reproductions of those baseball cards. And you can listen to those old kiddie records you miss.

Others who help relieve achy nostalgia and replace it with the far more agreeable saudade are Gemstone Comics, Candy You Ate as a Kid,, Retrocola (since we all know soda pop tastes better coming out of longneck glass bottles), Fizzies, and a rivet-perfect 50’s robot that blows powder from his mouth. Seriously.

Of course, if what you’re actually suffering from is Sehnsucht, the German word for “the inconsolable longing in the human heart for we know not what,” I recommend finding a yogi or a pharmacist. Trust me, Moxie and modern reproductions of old baseball cards are far less expensive and much more fun.

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