Sunday, July 10, 2016

329. Slang

It’s never my favorite day. Once a month, C.W. sits me down for what he calls “Idioms for Idiots” training, or sometimes. “slang for the species.” I can always tell when the time has come since he shows up in his college-professor guise—his version of how he thinks a professor would look: dark-rimmed spectacles, a small goatee, and a mismatch of clothes set off by a sport coat with leather patches on the elbows. No … really, the full nine yards.

Anyway, it was time and I dreaded it, for in these moments he can worry the horns off a billy-goat. He eased in cautiously, an unlit pipe in his hand. “I think,” he said, “that Mrs. Big Dope just insulted me.”

“Oh? I can’t imagine that. How?”

“She said that I ‘made her ass want a dip of snuff,’ and I don’t think she meant it as a compliment.”

“What was your first clue?”

That stumped him. He said, “She didn’t offer any clues, she just said …”

“I know. I know. I think she meant that you were getting on her nerves.”

He pondered this. “How does on ‘get on’ a bundle of fibers that transmits impulses of sensation to the brain or spinal cord, and impulses from these to the muscles and organs?”

“It’s a saying.” I said. “You have to take it with a grain of salt.”

“Sodium chloride effects this neurological miracle?”

“Let’s just say that I think you were bugging her.”

“You mean I turn her into a suborder Heteropera of the order Hemiptera?”

I sighed. “Why don’t you just give her some space for a while?

He bristled. “One doesn’t give away space. One travels through space.”

“Do you have any other terms that are making your pillow lumpy?”

“That would be pillows, plural,” he said. “I like to sleep in my natural state. I order them on-line and they are never lumpy.”

“Whatever. Now what terms are giving you trouble?”

“Well,” he said, pulling a notepad from a coat pocket, “I did overhear this in a bar.”

“You’ve been going to bars again? I thought we put that notion to rest.”

He started to respond, thought better of it, and read, “I don’t know where that ‘thang’ has been.”

“You heard that in a bar?”

“More than once. What does it imply?”

“Uh,” I said. “It probably implied that someone wasn’t going to get lucky that night.”

“Lucky? It wasn’t a casino. It was a bar.”

“Do you have another one?”

“Let’s see … oh yes, ‘She was squirmin’ like a worm in hot ashes’ or something like that. What’s that all about?”

“I don’t think you need to know what that is all about,” I said. “Don’t you have any examples from normal conversations?”

“Let’s see.” He read down. “Oh,” he said. “Here’s one. Two men are talking and one says to the other, ‘That farmland I own is as rich as five feet up a bull’s ass.'”

“That means it is good land,” I said. “The best.”

“Why didn’t he just say that?”

“Do you have more, or are you just jerking me around?”

This seemed both to confuse him and hurt his feelings. “I only do this,” he said, “because the Falloonian elders make me.”

“We all have our crosses to bear.”
Something tells me that she isn't falling for
that, "Did you fall from Heaven?" line. - C.W.

He brightened. “Now,” he said, examining his notes, “I heard that expression in a bar.”

“A bar?”

“A bar.”


“A man told a woman that he was trapped in an unhappy marriage and she told him …”

“That we all have our crosses to bear.”

“Yes,” he said. “What did she mean?”

“She meant,” I said, “that he wasn’t going to get lucky that night.”

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