The birthday project continues. Yesterday’s was a rather heavy topic. I had to take a nap after writing it! So today, I’m offering Silly Sayings to lighten things up a bit. My mom was an English major in college and has always exhibited a droll, rather British wit. She loves word play and puns and arcane literary allusions. So here’s a list of some of her rather unique utterances. We’ll start with terminology and end up with occasional quips.
1) Zans. This is a kitchen gadget commonly known as a bottle opener, but thanks to Dr. Seuss, my mother refers to it as a Zans. “Have you a Zans for cans? You should!” (from One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, of course)
2) Doo-hickey. This is a twist-tie for closing a plastic bag. She saves them in a little dish on top of the oven to re-use.
3) Cupeliar. It’s like peculiar, only more so.
4) Slip-go-down. This is any food that you can eat without making an effort to swallow it. It’s served when you are sick with a very sore throat. An alternative for brand-name gelatin, if you will.
5) Posbiculate. Otherwise known as brain-storming, logistic cogitating, or ‘work-shopping’, if you speak Biznish (that one’s mine; I came up with it when my IT husband would start using computer terms at home). How it’s used: my brother is now engaged, but there is no wedding date set yet. We’re still posbiculating.
From this sampling of terms, we now move into occasions.
6) The one great hour of swearing. This is when my mother feels an urgency to clean house. She swoops down on us in a flurry of instructions, frustrations, and activity making everyone uncomfortable…but only for a short time, because it’s all accomplished quickly and efficiently. Then she can say…
7) “It’s all a merciful blur.” I get this response a lot when I ask her to recall the details of how she managed something painfully emotional and/or difficult. She prefers to remain positive.
8) “I haven’t had this much fun since we nailed the baby to the floor!” Now, calm down. Mom’s not got a sadistic bone in her body. Picture this instead: a baby dressed like Swee’ Pea in a Popeye cartoon with a trailing nightie. Nail the nightie to the floor, and the baby will crawl forever and not get into any mischief. So, now you can!
9) “Enuff zis luff-makink. Let’s eat!” This is how Mom moves a gathering of chit-chatting guests into the dining room to actually sit down and begin the meal before it gets cold. I kid you not, she said this as we were standing around in the courtyard of the columbarium at my father’s memorial service, too. Dutifully, we all burst out laughing and headed in to the Parish Hall to start the reception.
10) “Here’s champagne for our real friends, and real pain for our sham friends!” This toast comes out periodically. She said it over the phone to me on Christmas just a few days ago. Now you’ve heard it just in time for New Year’s Eve, her birthday. I leave it up to you to quote…or not.
© 2014, essay and photographs, Priscilla Galasso, All rights reserved