Monday, December 2, 2013

REVISITING POSSLQ

The word posslq, or, as I misspelled it, adding an extra oh to give its complete acronym. It is pronounced poss-ul-q.
While I became acquainted with the word during the census of the 70′s, I had no idea it had an earlier origin until reader Judilyn posted this:
I have been looking all over the net for a poem by Erma Bombeck about POSSLQ that I thought I had read decades ago, but have struck out. I did, however, find this quote from the 1700′s!
Come live with me and be my love,
And we will some new pleasures prove
Of golden sands and crystal brooks
With silken lines, and silver hooks.
There’s nothing that I wouldn’t do
If you would be my POSSLQ.
You live with me, and I with you,
And you will be my POSSLQ.
I’ll be your friend and so much more;
That’s what a POSSLQ is for.
And everything we will confess;
Yes, even to the IRS.
Some day on what we both may earn,
Perhaps we’ll file a joint return.
You’ll share my pad, my taxes, joint;
You’ll share my life – up to a point!
And that you’ll be so glad to do,
Because you’ll be my POSSLQ.
%
Come, muse, let us sing of rats!
– From a poem by James Grainger (1721-1767)
She and I both wondered about the IRS, and how that reference came out of the 1700′s?  Well, mystery solved from Wikipedia comes this information:
POSSLQ (/ˈpɒsəlkjuː/ POSS-əl-KYOO) is an abbreviation (or acronym) for “Persons of Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters,” a term coined in the late 1970s by the United States Census Bureau as part of an effort to more accurately gauge the prevalence of cohabitation in American households.
After the 1980 Census, the term gained currency in the wider culture for a time.[1] CBS commentator Charles Osgood composed a verse which includes
There’s nothing that I wouldn’t do
If you would be my POSSLQ
You live with me and I with you,
And you will be my POSSLQ.
I’ll be your friend and so much more;
That’s what a POSSLQ is for.[2]
Elliot Sperber, the writer of The Hartford Courants weekly cryptogram, invented a cryptogram that (when solved) said:
Roses are Red,
Violets are Blue,
Won’t you be my POSSLQ?
Anyway, it was a fun excursion into the term posslq and I enjoyed the poem by Charles Osgood and the cryptogram too.
There are two references on-line to humorist Erma Bombeck’s statements about posslq. One from the New York Time’s magazine in March of 1980 but I didn’t follow the lead through. It was tedious to get there.
Now I’m going to introduce Jim as my posslq to people from now on!!  Reason?  Its fun.
Ciao

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