The Transcript Bulletin’s photo editor Francie Aufdemorte has invented a new word:
Francie (verb)— Francie, Francied, Francie-ing. To swindle, prank, or trick someone, completely by accident. When spelling “Francie,” always treat it like a proper noun and start it with a capital. Otherwise you’re missing the point.
Francie’s new word made a glorious debut last week when former Transcript Bulletin staff writer Emma Penrod used the upcoming Halloween holiday as an excuse to entertain some of her former coworkers — or in my case, a former college classmate. Emma generously invited several of us to have dinner at her home. The date was originally set for a weekend closer to Halloween, but something came up and Oct. 10 turned out to be the next best time for everyone.
This is the first time I’ve celebrated Halloween in the U.S. for a couple years (while I was working in El Salvador) and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I wondered, should a college graduate going to a Halloween party with several coworkers from her brand-new job attend in costume? And if so, how dressed up would she dare to go?
I was pondering these questions in the back of my mind one day, when the other staff writers were out chasing stories, leaving me alone with Francie. As we are prone to do, we started talking with each other. The conversation started like this: “So what are you going to go as to Emma’s Halloween party on Saturday?”
A flurry of thoughts zipped through my mind with lightning speed: Francie just asked me what costume I’m going to wear to the Halloween party. She’s talking as if everyone will obviously come in costume. I guess I’ll have to go through my younger siblings’ dress-ups and figure something out … what am I going to go as?
Francie’s question caught me by surprise, but somehow my mouth formed words to answer her question, summarizing my thought process with three words: “I don’t know.”
I thought about it on my drive home to Lehi Thursday, thought about it from time to time Friday, and remembered it almost at the last minute on Saturday. After talking with my brother and sister about the contents of their dress-up boxes, I settled for a disco outfit: white bellbottom pants with a shiny purple-and-black-striped shirt; a pair of three-inch platform shoes, plastic gold necklace, black afro wig and giant gold sunglasses.
Perfect, I thought. No one will recognize me.
Imagine my surprise when I arrived at Emma’s house to discover that not only was I the only one wearing any kind of costume at all, Francie wasn’t even there. Normally, I have a hard time remembering what people look like five minutes after I see them, but on this occasion I can picture everyone’s shirts without even trying. Tim Gillie, Tavin Stucki and their wives were dressed in nice casual — button-down shirts for the men and blouses for the women. Emma and her husband were both wearing gray T-shirts. And in I walked, carrying the wig and platform shoes because neither would stay on, wearing bellbottom pants that dragged six inches behind me because my brother is that much taller than me and a shirt that was almost long enough to be a dress.
In the newsroom Monday, when I told a laughing Francie what happened, Tim said, “Oh. I didn’t realize you were in costume. I noticed your pants were really long, but I thought maybe that was the style nowadays. I didn’t want to embarrass myself or you by pointing it out, so I just didn’t say anything. And your peace necklace … I just thought that must be how you dress outside of work. Like you were a secret hippie.”
The whole situation amused me but didn’t embarrass me — much. However, I will offer a word of warning.
To all the other gullible people out there: beware of being Francied.