Friday, March 11, 2005


I love coffee. Can’t drink it though, like there’s no tomorrow, and no consequences to those 5 Americano, 3 Diet Coke days, like I did when I was getting up everyday at 2 a.m. to run a bakery. These days, I take it a bit easier, one shot in that Americano, please, no acid stomach, no racing heart, and no regrets.

But I love to go to the coffee shop, order up a reasonable drink, a weak Americano, room, maybe use my computer while I am there, collect my email, bang out a tract or two. “Meet me at the roombar”, I tell Marie, “to dress our coffees up”. I take half and half for my Americano, she likes vanilla powder in her latte.

Marie: Did you say ...”Roombar” in the place where we go to add condiments to our drinks, to replace the “room” we ordered with our drinks?
Ric: Well, yes, I did say “roombar”, thank you.
Marie: What a perfect way to describe that bar, I’ve never heard that before!

Actually, when I made that word up, Marie was not all that impressed. I thought I had come up with a word that would certainly take off, the perfect description of the “condiment bar at the coffee shop”. The “Roombar”!

Okay, I realize now that it’s not gonna take the coffee world by storm. But it is a great word, and I’m standin’ on that.

So I worked it into a song, “Meet Me At The Roombar”, which appears on my CD titled, not surprisingly, “Regards From The Roombar”, which was released in 2003. And after that, well, hey, it’s a published word, right?’s in a song fer God’s sake, a CD title!!

I admit to being sometimes tempted to order my coffee, at say, Starbucks, and then, while knowing perfectly well where the condiment bar is, ask the barista, non-chalantly, side-mouthed, while looking quizically around the shop, “And could you tell me where the “roombar” is located?”, wink, wink. I am sure that the few times I have teased Marie with the word, around Coffee Shop Counters of The World, a few have heard me mumble the term.

But I couldn’t, wouldn’t stop with that. One afternoon, with a bee up my butt, I went online to the Merriam-Webster website, to report this new fabulous word, and to see what it might take to get that thing fired up in the lexicon. I found a hyperlink to “Report a New Word”, something like that, and clicked on it. It took me to a form. I was immediately a bit crestfallen, since a form suggests that many others must also be “reporting” words. But I filled out the form, typed in “roombar”, a meaning for roombar, and my reasons why I felt that this word should be considered for inclusion in the dictionary. As part of my explanation, I expressed something like.... “In the Northwest, where we are coffee crazy, a word like “roombar” is a natural outgrowth of the permeating coffee culture.” And lastly, I hit the “submit” button.

I forgot about it for a couple of weeks, but was pleased, even excited to see, in my mailbox one day, an email from “Merriam-Webster”. I opened it.

It began, "Dear Mr. Seaberg, thank you for your suggestion of the word “roombar” for consideration to be included in a future edition of The Merriam-Webster Dictionary.” The letter went on to explain that, in order for a word to actually, at some point, be included, it has to meet certain criteria. And folks, the bar is high. I don’t remember just how many publications it must be used in first, but it’s a bunch. As in.... used in Time Magazine, and major news publications, again and again, til it is obvious that this is a word which is being used by the general population.

What I want to say is.....Merriam-Webster, ya little skeptics, “roombar” is a great word, you know it, I know it, just put the fucking thing in your book and shut up. But truly, I have been caught. Merriam-Webster is on to wordsmiths like myself, way ahead of me.

But their letter had a pleasant and scholarly tone to it, and it concluded, I think, respectfully, and kindly. It said, “Mr. Seaberg, good luck in popularizing your word”.

Why, Merriam-Webster, thank you. I have a feeling I am gonna need it.
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Pacific Beach, Washington, United States