Monday, August 30, 2010

From Oddity Grows Sincerity

Everyone has a few strange catch phrases and odd cliches that pour out of their mouth from time to time. I had always considered my grandma Jean the Queen of Strange Quotable Nonsense with her perennial favorite:

"I haven't see you since Hector was a Pup!"

And no, I have no idea where that phrase came from, who Hector the Dog is or if he is actually even a dog.

But the other day I was listening to my Dad play with my children and I realized that is actually he who should be crowned as the Royal Strange-One.

"Olive! Get thee behind me Satin Sheets!", he jokingly yells at Olivia, who is playing too rough with him in the gameroom. I immediately recognize this phrase and at first don't think anything of it. Laughing, I leave the room and it hits me.

That's a weird thing to say! I know that it's a play on 'Get thee behind me Satan!' but I also know that it gets weirder than that. The phrase '...satin sheets and pink pillowcases...' is where he gets the last part from and it is from some random song he heard in the late 70's.

Other gems from my family's vernacular:

"Okay, we're off like a turd of hurdles!" Which is a twisted version of my another one of my grandmother's sayings, "We're off like a herd of turtles!".

We all call showers 'shou shou' or 'shou shou shou'.

We sometimes refer to my Daddy as 'Dadda Wuv' courtesy of my sister's childhood name for him.

The nicknames my Dad has for some of us are generally strange, most of which we still use.
My babiest sister Hannah is known as 'Hambone', 'Hambone Legbone' and my favorite 'Han, Shan and Abednego' which is (I guess) a take on 'Shadrach, Mehach and Abednego' from the Bible?
My babiest Brother Benjamin was known as 'Ben's Jammin' ' or 'Log Jammer'.
My brother Joshua was 'Jehosophat' and the shorter 'Fats'.
My sister Kate was "Katelynn Screwloose' or 'Screwloose' because I called her my 'Twisted Sister'.
I had a very boring nickname that barely stuck through adolescence, 'Sweetpea'. As a young couple my parents' favorite movie had been the Robin Williams version of Popeye. My mom would sing me the Olive Oyle songs from that movie all the time and they called me 'Sweetpea' after the baby in the movie.

I'm sure there are a million more to sift through and write out for you, but for the time being I'm done here.

I feel that it is a sort of homage to my Dad to be odd at least 40% of the time. Oddity (within some confines) is something to be loved and embraced. It makes clearer experiences and more unique memories, secret strangeness that knits families and friends together in a tightly wound fabric.

For more of my Dad and our family quirks read Here and Here.

7 comments:

Sherilin Riley said...

family quirks are like glue holding us together. my family has so many wacky things like that that outsiders just don't get at all & even our spouses who've heard the stories still don't fully appreciate.
long live sweatpea!

Missy said...

These are hilarious! I love the turd and turtle...

Ms. Moon said...

Oh Lord. I love that Popeye movie too. And our entire family sometimes bursts out into spontaneous, "He's large!" or "God Must Love Us!"
And we all know the meaning of, "I want a tall, slender BEAUTIFUL glass!"
Yes. Families are odd. Which makes us beautiful.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

That 'Hector the pup' thing is generational. My crazy old aunt used to say it all the time.

Nanc Twop said...

That Popeye spells it:

Swee'pea


so your nickname T'ain't boring.

;-)

writer.elh@gmail.com said...

My husband calls my three children by different meat variations: meat head, meat stick and meatloaf. Gross, right?

steff said...

haha! i love them all ESPECIALLY a turd of hurdles.

usin' it!