Thursday, January 05, 2006

More How To Speak Bet

It happened again today. I channeled the spirit of Mamaw Bowles.

Yes, it was about mid-way through the day, when I'd written the wrong date on something, and I casually turned to my friend and workmate San to tell her such. And I said something offhand about, "It's actually the fifth, isn't it?" and "fifth" turned into "feeuuhfth." And I turned red and she giggled.

And you know, I really shouldn't have turned red, because it is my inalienable right to drag the word "fifth" out just as long as I want to, even if I don't realize I'm doing it when it happens.

After I wrote my blog of 12/8/05, How To Speak Bet, I realized (normally by using them) that there are still some phrases I'm using that people are giving me the stink-eye for. So I thought I'd add them to this sequel blog, this Bill of Rights for the Baker's Dozen of a Decalogue I gave you once before. And I'm perfectly willing to admit here that two of these are even a little obscure for the more "down home" amongst us. I guess they're things my family and circle of friends just say and we know what each other are talking about, even if some in the outside world don't. But this is How To Speak Bet, and remember, I am Bet, and I say these things. But hopefully soon, you'll be saying them too.

Let's get started.

Light Bread - This is a much-used term around here. I heard it all the time growing up. Light bread is your basic white bread, sliced and in a bag, a la Wonder or Sunbeam. This is an opposite to a biscuit or roll, as around here, there's very little mention of other breads such as wheat, rye, pumpernickel, or whatever. "Do we have any biscuits to go with dinner?" "No, but there's light bread, you can have some of that." (By the way, the emphasis in this phrase is on the light. Light bread.)

Eyes - (pronounced however you wish, but around here, it's "ahhs.") Imagine my surprise the day I was going on to Mr M about my eyes and how two of them were out of their little slots, and was met with a stare of total incomprehension. It was only then that I realized that some weird people call the four things on their stoves that the food cooks on "burners." Because around here, they're "eyes," plain and simple. Got it? Good.

If That Don't Beat The Hens A-Peckin' - This is one of your general exclamations on a par with "Well, I'll be a son of a bitch." Let's say a random person has left her keys right on the arm of the Comfy Chair, and goes back five minutes later and they're not there. Then this random person searches her entire house (which could be called something like, oh, say, The Poderosa) for a half-hour and the keys are nowhere to be found. It's at this point that this random person would sit down dejectedly and say, "Well, if that don't beat the hens a-peckin'." And the keys giggle from the cushions of her Comfy Chair.

Swarpin' - This is a degree of drunkenness. I suppose the degree to which this is depends on the drunkard in question, but let's just say it's that degree where you seem to be having a better time than all those in your general vicinity. Not to be confused with the recently mentioned "boo-drunk," which simply means you're too drunk to function. You function quite well when you're swarpin' drunk, though you hope you're not held responsible for whatever functioning you might get up to. "Did you see him last night? My God, he was just swarpin' drunk." (There was actually, a few years ago, a discussion in our local rag, in the section where people ask the local rag's "expert" questions, on the origins of the phrase "swarpin' drunk." No one seemed to know.)

Shoot The Dog - This is the first of the two phrases that are probably only bandied about in my circle of folks, though it's become a phrase amongst me and my nearest and dearest that's accepted as normal. To shoot the dog is to, well, not to be distasteful and upset some of the squeamish assembled, it's to have gas. So named for a poor soul who did in fact have gas while lying on a hotel bed opposite a painting where there was a hunt going on, and the red-jacketed riders were surrounded by hunting dogs. "Oops, I think you shot the dog," a bystander replied, and, well, the phrase is now deep-rooted in our vocabulary. And it's spreading, because, let's face it, it's a great phrase. A perfect example of usage would be my sister, who will kill me if she ever finds out I told this, saying once, "Girls, I believe those jalapenos are gonna make me shoot the dog." And they did.

Bag Glasses - Here's another term I thought everyone used. Bag glasses are just those little bifocal-type reading glasses. But not the expensive kind you get from the doctor, the cheap kind you buy off a rack at a store. "You know, I think bifocals are in my immediate future, but I'm just going to start out with a pair of bag glasses and take it from there."

Ray - A ray is a person completely devoid of any personality, happiness, or even a smile. Shortened from "a ray of sunshine." Overheard at lunch one day a while back: "Boy, that new girl on the morning news sure is a ray, ain't she?"

Squeeze The Owl - This is the second of the phrases that originated with me and those who know me. To squeeze the owl just means to go to the ATM machine. So called because the very first cash machine in our little burg was called "The Owl," and featured a very dapper owl on it in a top hat and spats, not unlike Mr Peanut. So going to the cash machine became simply "squeezing the owl." Now, when one is feeling a little rowdy and is not in the company of young people, one might occasionally say he or she is going to "shit the owl" instead of "squeeze the owl." One might especially say this if one is swarpin' drunk. There is always the fear, though, that if one is especially broke, that one might squeeze the owl and the owl will simply laugh at one.

Hold Your Tater On The Cold End - Being an impatient little podlet, I heard this one more times than I can count when I was growing up. It's the, I guess, country version of "hold your horses." I'm not sure if a tater actually has a cold end, and if it does I guess it was badly baked, but it seems like every time I was in a rush for something and wasn't about to get it anytime soon, I was told to hold my tater on the cold end.

So there you go.

Oh, and may I just mention one more phrase, one that can't be included on the above list because there's only one person I've ever heard who uses this phrase? I don't even use it, but it always makes me giggle.

When my dad is trying to explain that one has to pay for the things one wants in life he occasionally says, "You have to pay a nickel to see a pissant eat a bale of hay." That conjures up such a great picture I'd pay way more than a nickel to see it.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Hey, my quiz is still there for the taking. If you haven't yet, be sure to go here and give me a try.
* There's rule at TheCompanyIWorkFor, by the way. And that rule is, the smellier the person who is in your office, the more that person likes to talk and will therefore smell up your office for a longer period of time. I had my afternoon snack completely ruined today. Oh, and the sub-rule of this is, the smellier a person is and the longer that smelly person stays in your office, the more other people will come in and have to endure the smell and wonder if it's in fact the office staff that's doing the smellying.


Blogger Michelle said...

I need an audio of swarpin please. I plan on using it, and I plan on getting it right!

1:46 AM  
Blogger Flipsycab said...

Man, this post made laugh so hard! You are very un-RAY-like, Betster.

8:03 PM  

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