If I had known in fourth grade that I come from a long line of mispronouncers and wrong word users, I could have at least explained to my Sunday school class that I have a genetic predisposition that makes me say palms instead of Psalms. I’m sure there is probably a diagnosis for it, but at this point I have learned to accept it … and even embrace it.
I already know paybacks are going to stink for me because of the fun I have made of generations before me (i.e. my mother). I highly enjoy a good word malfunction and have always been exceptionally aware of others who have this propensity to botch vocabulary as well. I didn’t really clue in till I was a teenager, so I hate to think of all the fodder I missed from my grandmother while I was growing up. It never dawned on me that my grandmother having arthur-eyedis was any different than it should be, or that watching the political carcass was odd.
My earliest memory of this affliction, if you will, is a doozy. My momma and I were on Franklin Road in Brentwood when her car started acting up. She drove into Little Brothers Amoco to make sure everything was okay. As soon as she glided into the filling station, the battery light came on. She rolled down her window and said, “Hello there, fella. Will you please jack me off?” I was pretty sheltered in my day, but I knew that didn’t sound right.
Not long after the car incident was my older brother’s high school graduation. Everyone was dressed in their Sunday clothes and excited about the occasion. The valedictorian introduced the preacher who was going to pray. “He is a graduate of the Southern Baptist theological cemetery.” Wow, that’s quite an accomplishment!
Then there was the day that my momma called me with a solemn voice. “Ames, please pray for Mr. Jim. He has genital heart failure.” That’s gotta be uncomfortable. And then another very serious phone call was letting me know that a child in our family is “severely, severely artistic, and that’s why he doesn’t like loud noises.” I’ve always wanted to be more artistic. Bless. To this day, thanks to Momma, I can’t get straight prostate and prostrate. At this point, I figure it’s just not gonna happen.
All eyes were on me at my wedding shower, where everyone brought me spices and recipes. I slowly opened a gift and said to the crowd, “Oh, this looks delicious! Corn and chicken shuffle. That will be wonderful to cook for Keller!” A sweet friend whispered in my ear “it’s ‘soufflé.’” Oh, potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto! And speaking of food, my dear mother-in-law ordered a “pita with feet-ah” one time. At least it rhymed and sounded cute.
Years ago at a party at my BFF’s, all the close girlfriends helped make and serve the food, and their husbands parked the guests’ cars. When the party was over and we were all sitting around with our feet up, my friend’s mom said, “I tell you what, that was so dear of the fellas to do that gourmet parking.” I guess that left the valet cooking to the ladies. And speaking of the finer things in life, the other day I called to get tickets to a musical and told them I didn’t want seats in the luge. That would be a distraction for sure.
Many years ago, one of my friends worked for a large Christian company. On a particular day they were told their computers would be having some maintenance preformed and would need to be shut off at a certain time. When the time came, the receptionist made an announcement over the intercom: “Attention employees, the time is now 5 o’clock. Time to cut off your wangs.” Awk-ward.
Oh, the things kids say! At least they have the excuse of still learning how to talk and read! It seems families continue saying the mispronounced words because it’s fun for the family. When my oldest was 8 or 9, she had a lip gloss that she really liked and wanted to know if I would buy her some more. “What is it called?” “Strawberry dah-queerie.” Hopefully, she won’t have to say that one till she’s 21. Then there is the alligator that you go up or down in to take you to another floor in a building … possibly to get some finch fries if you’re hungry.
Not hungry? How about some music? “I’m Not in Love” by 10cc is an oldie, but goodie. You could sing “be quest and quiet” all your life like I did … or you could sing the correct words, “big boys don’t cry,” which makes a lot more sense. What about good ol’ John Denver? I loved his music. “Take me home, country roads, to the place I belong, West Virginia, mount your momma, take me home … ” I’m surprised I didn’t ever get suspended from school.
A couple of weeks ago, I was at Walmart and was strolling by the meat department on my way to get Diet Cokes. “Excuse me, ma’am,” a nice lady said to me. She looked down at her grocery list, then looked up at me and said, “I am looking for the anus beef … do you know where that would be?” I can’t eat burgers anymore. Just the thought of an anus burger gets me.
Let’s be honest. Some words are just funny to say and hear! We put kids in timeout for laughing about them, and then we have to run in another room and crack up ourselves! I remember giggling in church when we sang “Ox and ass before Him bow.” It still makes me smile, because I thought I was cussing in church. I ask my kids every time we eat Chinese food if they want the poopoo platter. I get tickled when I drive through Chunky, MS, or hear about Sugartit, KY. No way I could live there!
I can’t end this enlightening piece of work without a heartfelt thank you to my brother. For without him and the kindness in his heart to educate his little sister, I might still be calling my youth pastor a dildo head, a term of endearment I thought sounded silly. I love you, bro!
Mind your P’s and Q’s, y’all!
Amy McBride is a proud Nashville native. She’s a domestic goddess, storyteller, blogger, Sonic drink aficionado and one-of-a-kind spirit that bubbles over with authenticity, humor and fun. Read more by her at musiccitymcbride.com.