Families and work groups, especially those who live stably for years, get these sayings.
Sometimes it’s a single word that means something to them but an outsider doesn’t know what it means.
Sometimes it’s a word or phrase that seems normal enough on its own but seems non-sequitur as they use it and requires backstory to understand their usage or most often ‘why it’s funny.’
And as we all know, even with explication, it just doesn’t come off the same to the outsider.
Wobber-jaw (phonetically): this is at least 4 generations old in a friend’s lexicon. It means what my family would call ‘catty-angled.’ Thing is, I’ve often heard ‘kitty-angled’ from others, so I can’t claim a high ground on wobber-jaw with catty-angled. Oh, and of course, ‘kitty-cornered’ is pervasive in Missouri. All mean the same thing.
How does your family say ‘wobber-jaw?’
Another friend’s family had ‘being have.’ That’s not to be and to have.
It was from a toddler’s response to, ‘Daphne, are you behaving?’ The mother was in the kitchen and Toddler Daphne was in the front room. Things had gone quiet. -always a sign of devilment/em> Daphne, not having a full grasp of her native tongue yet had answered petulantly, ‘I AM BEIN’ HAVE!’ -rhymes with stave
There are loads of these toddlers misunderstood-structures! And almost all are pretty funny.
Then you have a spin-off which is the oft-repeated old timer saying. Made famous in Cold Comfort Farm as ‘I saw something nasty in the woodshed.’
Another friend’s great-uncle who was not mentally feeble, just easily amused, would exclaim joyfully, ‘Lookie dare!’ when virtually ANYTHING happened.
Hell, we’ll say it when nothing happened and get a chuckle. You can’t help it, it was quite silly of him (bless him) and we’re just being silly on purpose.
What about you repeaters?
The poor nieces-3 do a sort of pained head bob, mouth-along when I say, ‘Always put things in their place, that way you’ll always know where to find them.’
Hey! I’d stop saying it if they actually didn’t require me to begin it. I get to ‘things’ and they’re moving and mumbling. HAR!
I’m kind of ashamed that my warning to them to mind Bobby (don’t run him over with a tractor or whatever as he never learnt the art of getting the feck out of the way). ‘Mind him, he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed.’
Ashamed cos I’ve heard them apply it to others. D’OH!
Lastly, I’ll talk about the pork chops. Remember the title said something about pork chops?
My mammy owned many businesses but her last job was doing piece work for Bussman Fuse. It paid exceedingly well. She earned a lot, lived simply, invested it all and retired in her 40s, living off dividends.
Her time with Bussman introduced her to some real characters. When Francie and her husband argued, her reaction was to come into work and tell the girls, ‘I’m going to fry up a platter of pork chops and crawl up in the middle of the bed and eat them.’
They were her comfort food.
It became my family’s colloquialism to be recited when pork chops were on the menu. At least 30 of us still use it any my mammy has been dead 16 years.
Today, I am literally frying up a platter of pork chops (for lunches). This means when somebody pops in my kitchen today, they’re gonna hear the platter…middle of bed…eat ’em’ phrase.
Got any oddball phrases like that?