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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Help (02/20/06)

TITLE: HEPL (and I mean that spelling!)


Messrs. Barney Rubble and Fred Flintstone are out fishing for the day. They sit in that hollowed-out log so enjoying their time that they don't notice they are being taken in to a whale's mouth. Inside the beast, they float around, looking for options for escape. Having some general concept of whale anatomy, they know they have a blow hole to use, and use it they do. After building a mighty blaze, Barney is instructed to send a message by smoke signal to the outside world. Poof. Poof. Poof! The little blanket flips an flaps on top of the flames to make puffs of smoke rise merrily through the hole and form letters above the whale which are beautifully clear. Being able to see through the hole, Fred is furious, seeing the spelling "H.E.P.L".

My brother and I watched that episode of The Flintstones along with three quarters of the rest of the people growing up in the sixties and seventies and eighties (and later). Some stories stuck with us, but the HEPL idea is still in our lexicon. The meaning has gracefully changed from a misspelling into a word with its own meaning. It's beyond ‘help' and different from ‘HELP!' HEPL is a word we used when he lived in Korea and I in Canada. It's a word that still brings peals of laughter when we're together. So engrained in my dictionary of life is this little oddity that I often have to explain its singular meaning to other people sine I find it so useful.

HEPL is word for exasperation. Our mother would, at the end of her tether, or just before that and she'd shake her head and say "Help!", often leaning skyward in so doing. It's best used a times when you accidentally let a red sock into a load of your best white (now pink) laundry.

HEPL is also a word for communication. After a hand of rotten cards, meaning we're losing, my brother and I will holler "Hepl!" The secret meaning here is deeper and deeper. We're not mad, we're barely even frustrated. We just needed to tell each other that we'll be at each other's side no matter what, always there, always ready to Hepl.

Rolling on the floor with laughter, Thomas and I watched a lot of funny television. HEPL is not the only word or phrase we've appropriated to our own use, but it's the most prevalent of the lot. Most of all, it means that we'll still be rolling on the floor with laughter for years to come and it says in a remarkable way that those times years ago were important. Like all communication of the heart, it says "I love you."

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Member Comments
Member Date
Marilyn Schnepp 02/27/06
Very cute - and adheres to the topic well! A couple of goof ups, ("since" and "at")...but otherwise, well written.
Jeff Ford03/03/06
I find it interesting that "hepl" can mean both exasperation AND communication, which I view as opposites. Exasperation to me means "I'm exhausted, tired, and all out of fresh ideas...I'm done;" whereas communication means "I'm ready to go, let's figure this out and bond with one another." I see your difficulty in trying to explain this idiosnycracatic word to anyone who is not your brother. :)
The Tornyn03/03/06
I really understand what your saying! Me and my sister have a word as well...it's "Blah" and somehow it always makes us feel better. Thanks so much for sharing!!