Saturday, June 24, 2006

A New Verb, Transitive: To Flamingo

To flamingo (flamingo, flamingoing, flamingoed.) To stealthily implant a flock of pink plastic lawn ornaments on a targeted yard under cover of darkness.

OK, I'll admit it -- I've been living in a backwater for a long time, now. I try very hard to be au courant -- it's the occupational disease of the journalist. However, here's one I missed almost entirely.

But let me back up. In Arizona, one can't help hearing about the quinceaƱera celebrations -- sometimes elaborate coming-of-age parties for Latinas on their 15th birthdays.

All of which reminds me of my Australian brother and his boys. It seems that in Australia and New Zealand, Twenty-First celebrations were once common coming-of-age occasions for both young men and women. And this is when I first heard about "flamingoing". Well over 10 years ago, when my nephew Will came of age. Tradition calls for a flamingoing.

As you can see from the photos above and below, there was already a business niche for the professional flamingoer in Western Australia. When Will's younger brother came of age, he was dinosaured, by the way.

What brought the subject up again was a story in the Courier the other day about a flamingoing for charity in Bullhead City. My, I thought, an interesting import from Down Under.

But duty required that I check Google before pontificating on the latest social trend in the USA. Oops. Lots of entries. Franchises, of course.

Even a blog. By the Flamingess, who operates a "night flocking" business in the San Francisco Bay Area.

And instructions on how to operate a flamingos-for-charity operation. There's one flamingo/night flocking operator in the Phoenix area, by the way.

My only consolation is that the AP considered flamingoing newsworthy enough to put the Bullhead City story on the wire -- and thus bring it to my attention. I guess I'm no more out of the loop than those other journalists.

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