This post is likely to be lengthy (insert mock gasp of feigned shock) and requires a little foreshadowing. There are two aspects of my wacky personality that converge to produce the meat and potatoes of this post, so if you find yourself wondering how I shift gears from one thing to the other… just read on.
Also, I’m posting this story for two reasons… One, because it’s perhaps mildly amusing… Two, I’m trying to see what kinds of crazy things I can get to show up in my keyword results. For more on that, click on the WTFHUH??? tab up at the top of the page.
Be forewarned, there’s a good chance you’re going to get to the end of this post and wish you could get the last five minutes of your life back. It’s a long story, and it’s not overly funny. If you get no amusement out of this post whatsoever, my apologies… I make no promises.
Firstly: I love the English language. I like learning new words, and even making up my own. Back in High School I used to (mostly while in class) think about words I thought were just funny sounding. “Much”. When said by it self sounds funny. I also think it ought to have a T in it, like “Hutch”. Hippo is sorta fun to say too. Puddle. Wicker. Dumpster. These were all on my list of funny words.
Secondly: I have passed every hearing test I’ve ever had with flying colors. I’m not deaf. However, I have a very difficult time hearing words clearly when there’s background noise. Air conditioners are the most inconvenient thing for my listening comprehension lately. TVs are another. …and kids. Perhaps it’s ironic because of my pet peeve about having to repeat myself, that I have to keep asking others to repeat themselves…
The last time I went out for a drink with the wife and her friends, there was a live band. After about ten minutes, I resorted to texting the people we were with instead of yelling over the band. It’s very frustrating.
Because of this difficulty, I sometimes find myself guessing at what the person said. Frequently, I’m correct. I can usually figure out what they said based on what’s going on, and what I know about the person speaking. For instance, I would have sworn under oath that my five year old just told me “You have to clean the urinal. Thanks”. Now… Much to my chagrin, we do not have a urinal, so I knew that was no what she said. I looked over and saw that she was looking in on her new pet turtle, and I knew she must have said “Turtle tank” and not “urinal. Thanks.”
Another such example is a TV commercial where some executive big wig gets on the phone and says “Nope, there’s no law against having just appetizers for dinner.” The first time it was on, I wasn’t paying attention, and thought he said “there’s no law against having hepatitis for dinner”.
There are times where someone will say something, and I’ll be completely at a loss, and have to ask what they said. They’ll say it again, and then ask “Why, what did you think I said?”. I almost never tell them what it sounded like, because invariably, I get “Why the hell would you think I said that??” which I then have to say “I didn’t think you said that, that’s why I asked you to tell me what it was you actually did say.” …it’s much easier to just say I didn’t hear.
My enjoyment of saying words that sound funny, regardless of whether or not they had anything to do with the conversation at hand, or even if there was no conversation at all, continued even unto this day. It has never yielded more interesting results than it did back a decade or so at my first “real” job.
I worked in a room drawing duct work with a half dozen other folks. I had speakers, and a fairly large number of mp3s, so I usually chose the soundtrack. It was actually fairly obnoxious of me. In my defense however, if someone asked me to turn it down or off, I would comply.
There are those though, would won’t ask such a thing. One of the other folks who shared the room was one of those big-talking, “I’m funny cause I swear”, clearly over compensating for some kind of insecurity, stand-offish sorts, who loved Howard Stern. One day, he got himself some speakers, and began broadcasting Howard Stern. I am not now, and was not then, a Stern fan, nor were any of the others in the room we shared.
Fortunately, I could just drown it out with my music, which I’d have gladly turned off and sported my headphones, if he’d asked.
Around this time, my “funny of choice” was “wicker” and I’d try to make tongue twisters with it. It paired nicely with purple and pickle. It just so happened that I came across a website with the phrase “Pickle Bucket”. What made it worse was that I’d gotten one of the other fellows in the room to enjoy the tongue twisting with me. (Boy, that sounds wrong.) He was much better at weaving the wicker words than I was.
One day I entered the room, my hearing totally confused by the music I’d left on and Howard Stern’s latest fart joke, and the Stern fan was grinning about something he found funny, and said “Matt. Mr. Goodwin.”
This was not one of those times when I knew that the words I heard were not what were said.
“Who?” I said.
“You,” he replied, confusing me worse. Why was he calling me Mr. Goodwin?? Was this an inside joke? I freakin hate inside jokes.
“What the f*ck are you talking about??” I asked irritably.
Nothin fuhget it.”
I rolled my eyes and went back to my desk. I knew he wanted me to ask him to please continue, but I wouldn’t. (That’s another pet peeve of mine, when someone acts like they don’t want to tell you something when they clearly do, just to get you to beg them… I’m no one’s puppet, I say! Keep your damn secrets!) Eventually, he cooled off and said “Ok, you ready to hear the joke you missed?” he asked snidely, and I realized I’d heard him wrong.
I explained that I’d misheard him, and that I thought he was calling me Mr. Goodwin, not telling me “You missed a good one.” The fellow who twists tongue better than I do got a hell of a good laugh at it, and began twisting words about Mr. Goodwin and his purple wicker pickle bucket in such speed and complexity I nearly lost my breath laughing. …which of course pissed off the Stern fan again, so I never actually heard this “good one”.
I still keep in tough with the twister of tongues, but I haven’t talked or even really thought about this in a few years. He keeps a blog over here where he’s listing his 1,000 favorite songs of all time. I urge you to take a look, his tastes are eclectic, and you just might find some new music you like.
I’m hoping he’ll come by here and comment on this, and twist his tongue a bit for us, cause it really is a work of art.