Thursday, October 13, 2022

About that ‘Recombobulation Area’ at Milwaukee Airport (MKE)

We first noticed this marvelous sign while traversing the TSA checkpoint in Milwaukee's Mitchell International Airport in 2014.

It brought a smile to our faces again yesterday just after the checkpoint as we were flying home after our week in Wisconsin and (mainly) Illinois. We wondered who coined the word and placed the sign. The simple genius of taking an already somewhat obscure word, discombobulation, and inventing an antonym is worthy of P.G. Wodehouse.

Wodehouse is the immortal British author (Jeeves and Bertie Wooster are his most famous characters) who invented the imaginary word gruntled: "I could see that, if not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled.”

little research revealed the creator of recombobulation was Barry Bateman, MKE's former airport director who retired in 2020. "He understood that traveling can be stressful and the signs are intended to put a smile on people’s faces," said MKE’s public relations manager.

Indeed they do. We’re far from the only ones who appreciate MKE’s signage. In 2009, the American Dialect Society named it the "most creative word of the year."   
We look forward to recombobulating ourselves on future sausage runs to Milwaukee.

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