Wordplay

If you stopped by for the blog hop, see my recommendations here.

I’ve mentioned before, I love words and the English language. I like jokes that involve word-play, and I love to play with words, even when there’s no joke involved. I especially love puns.

My earliest memory of getting enjoyment out of words was when I was quite young, perhaps four or five, and my father told me to say “Toy Boat” quickly three times, and I couldn’t do it. Obviously, I couldn’t do it, cause my tongue got tied at first, but subsequent attempts were foiled because I couldn’t stop laughing at myself. “Black Buick” is another.

I was told by my brother that if you get those mords wixed, it meant you had drain bamage.

As I grew older, I found enjoyment in tongue twisters, and found that I was actually quite good at saying them without issue. That’s also in that post about words that I linked above, so I won’t belabor that point..

I like to say things like, “What do you think I am? Anyway??”

Before bed, I like to shake a tower and get all nice and clean.

One of my favorite songs in grade school was Big Bird singing the alphabet… But he (Big Bird IS a he, right??) was sounding the whole thing out as if it were one word…

I used to draw duct work for a living, and when I’d send the drawings to the printer, I’d say “Someday, my prints will come.”

When someone sneezed I used to say “It look sweat, but it snot.”

I like to drink beer and tell people “I’m not as think as you drunkle peep I am.”

One of my favorite things to do when I was young (and even still, though most of the time I do it automatically now, so there’s actually less goofy enjoyment) is to play with names. I used to sound out peoples names backwards, and see if it sounded funny. If it did, that’s how I’d address them. It was uncommon that it worked out well enough to stick, most of the time it was just gibberish, but occasionally there’d be a gem. My own name is kinda boring, nolnoc semaj wehttam… Wet ham? Meh.

I actually sort of marveled at how difficult it must have been for J. K. Rowling to come up with “Tom Marvolo Riddle” from “I am lord Voldemort”. What a pain in the arse that must have been.

My cousin and I started playing with names a lot togheter, sort of one-upping each other with celebrity names…

Regis Philbin, for example, became Fegis Rhilbin. And then Rhilfeg Binis… or something. etc.

Uma Thurman became Thurma Uman… And then ultimately Thurmumana.

If you’re still with me, I urge you to try this… Let me know some of the funny ridiculous crap you come up with! 😀

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The Things People Say

Exaggeration is a powerful tool when used correctly. When making a point a little exaggeration can get your point across with a touch of humor and can really make the point memorable.

Some exaggerations I’ll never forget:

“Sorry I’m late, I was stuck behind someone at the ATM who was balancing the national debt.” – spoken by my brother John, some years ago.

My father to me a month or two before I finished 8th grade – “Pick some electives that’ll mean something to colleges, not basket weaving and pothole digging cause it’s an easy a.”

“Jesus, this asshole’s driving right up my ass…” – spoken almost daily by either my wife or myself. That’s how we roll this close to Boston.

I have a healthy appreciation for exaggeration. I enjoy them, as I do the English language in general. However, the attention that I unconsciously pay to things like exaggerations doesn’t stop there… It’s present at all times, so I pick up things like exaggerations even when people don’t really realize they’re using them.

I don’t know why it bothers me, and honestly, I kinda wish it didn’t… Perhaps it’s some kind of psychological problem my pain-in-the-ass mind interprets the unconscious use as a disregard for something I enjoy, or something like that… Who knows. I’m a pain in the ass. It is what it is. I can’ explain it. Fortunately, this is my blog, so I don’t have to. 😉

Anyway, there’s a commercial for stamps.com where some guy says “There’s nothing worse than going to the post office and waiting in line!” …C’mon. I can think of SKILLIONS of things that are worse than that. How about going to the post office and and accidentally mailing yourself somewhere inconvenient. That’d suck, right? I’d rather stand in line.

Another one is when someone says “I could care less.” …soooo… You mean you care then?

“The LAST thing you want is to…” sorta goes along with the first example.

Double negatives used to bother me a lot, but I have worked on it… English is one of the only languages that doesn’t allow double negatives like “I aint got none.” Technically in English, that means you got some.

So what bugs you about the misuse of the English (or any other) language?

Here’s the Thing…

Image Credit: welcome-to-monster-land.blogspot.com 

Now, the picture above is not what this post is about, but when I say “Thing”, it’s what I think of. Interestingly enough, when I googled for the image, googling for “thing” does NOT yield pictures of Thing Adams. Too far removed from the main stream I guess.

Further note: do not search for “thing” on google without “safe search” set to at least “moderate”. Just trust me on this…

Anyway, have you ever noticed people on TV (Adams Family aside) don’t have any problem coming up with the words they’re saying as they’re saying them, like so many people do? I would not likely be a very successful radio personality, because as I’m telling stories or talking about various subjects, I pause and stumble as I reach for the words… Inevitably, I use “thing” in reference to many items with which I’m very familiar. Thus, in an effort to improve my diction I’ve decided to curb my usage.

Such a versatile word… Perhaps too much so for its own good… How many times have you heard (or said) “I need that thing…” or “Can you grab the uh…. thing…” We’ve gotten so comfortable with not being able to readily call up the correct word, that almost any object can become a “thing”.

It goes beyond the tangible now too, it’s not just for items… People say “Oh, that? Yeah, that’s his thing.” or “The thing is…” Of these phrases, the “things” aren’t really even things… they’re habits or subjects or issues…

According to google, the definitions of “thing” are:

  • a special situation; “this thing has got to end”; “it is a remarkable thing”
  • an action; “how could you do such a thing?”
  • a special abstraction; “a thing of the spirit”; “things of the heart”
  • an artifact; “how does this thing work?”
  • an event; “a funny thing happened on the way to the…”
  • matter: a vaguely specified concern; “several matters to attend to”; “it is none of your affair”; “things are going well”
  • a statement regarded as an object; “to say the same thing in other terms”; “how can you say such a thing?”
  • an entity that is not named specifically; “I couldn’t tell what the thing was”
  • any attribute or quality considered as having its own existence; “the thing I like about her is …”
  • a special objective; “the thing is to stay in bounds”
  • a persistent illogical feeling of desire or aversion; “he has a thing about seafood”; “she has a thing about him”
  • a separate and self-contained entity

Is it really necessary to have a word like this? I’m not convinced… Although, I have had a hell of a time trying not to use it.

My house is full of little objects (and yes, I wrote “things” and changed it), bits and pieces of toys and games and such that, unless you’re familiar with, it cannot be identified… except as a “thing”… I’ve been lenient on myself in this situation because to explain the purpose of such a thing would be long winded and unnecessary. It’s really just a “thing”.  But when the object is an every day thi… ah, item… such as a coffee mug, I’ve actually been getting frustrated with myself for saying “thing”.

I’d like you, gentle reader, to pay attention to how many familiar objects, the names of which are well known, that you or your associates call a “thing”. Please comment and share your stories, I could use the support. Not an easy th… undertaking.