Monday, March 9, 2015

Guide to Caple/Walker/Leonard/Burnfield Family Lingo

So, every family probably has their own expressions and weird phrases - ours is no exception. Not all of these are unique to us - some are regional, such as "holler," and many are phrases that we just happen to use a whole lot. A few of them, however, mystify even Google.

I therefore present:

A Guide to Caple/Walker/Leonard/Burnfield Family Lingo

Lazy people work the hardest - what your mother or grandmother always says to you when you try to carry all the shopping bags in one trip.

A D in citizenship - what you get for licking your plate in school.

If I put you both in a bag and shook you, neither one of you'd fall out - what my grandmother would say to try and stop us from fighting. It might have had some effect, as I sat there scratching my head to try and figure out what she meant. I think she made it up. I can't find it anywhere on the internet.

Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick - Stop complaining, life could be worse. I must mention that no actual sharp-stick-poking or sack-shaking ever occurred. Google does recognize the existence of this phrase, and even hints that it could be related to some ancient myth about Cyclops. Way to go, Grandma. You are cultured (even if your last analogy made no sense to anyone).

If it were a snake it would've bit you - This is a phrase most often attributed to my paternal grandmother, usually used when something you are looking for has been right under your nose the whole time.

Outen the lights - My dad says this whenever he's feeling particularly Pennsylvania Dutch, and yes, the grammar does make me cringe...

"They said...." "Who's 'they'?" "Pete Delida." - Apparently my great grandpa was always coming home from work talking about what "they" said, until my great grandma, fed up with the mysterious "they," asked WHO was saying all these things. "They" happened to be one person, by the name of Pete Delida, who must have had something to say about a wide range of subjects, according to the story. Now whenever "they" say something and we can't pinpoint exactly who, it is attributed to good ol' Pete. Imagine our surprise when one day Dad randomly met him somewhere...

TNSTAAFL - Pronounced "tinstoffle," this stands for "There's No Such Thing as a Free Lunch" and is oft quoted by Dad whenever we get excited about this or that "free" thing.

Gotta get there before all the greedy people do - what you say when you're racing to be first on half-price day at Goodwill, or any other sale where time is of the essence. Attributed to our Aunt Ruth, who must have been very good at beating those greedy people to the great deals.

Bancy fall - a place where one might meet their...

Pransome hince - someone with whom you will lall in fove.

Gownless evening strap - what you wear to a bancy fall, and/or a garment that seems to provide less than appropriate coverage. Generally referred to by my great-aunt.

Did SOMEone say SOMEthing was brrrrrOken???!!! - Said whenever someone utters the word broken, for any reason, and a signal to cue the Star Wars music and rush in with duct tape.

Oh but I WANTED that piece... - uttered in the most mournful of tones whenever anyone takes the last piece of anything, particularly anything that has been offered multiple times (with no takers) to everyone at the table, whether or not the speaker actually DID want that piece. Attributed to some random dinner guest in Caple family history, and quoted to death ever since.

LOOK what happened to so-and-so's piece... - Always pronounced when the first piece of anything is served and falls apart, and always spoken with the same tone and emphasis. Why do we say it? Why does it matter? Why does anyone care? Is it actually funny? I'm not sure anyone knows, yet we always say it...every time.

Boardinghouse reach - an excuse to reach across the table and take whatever you want, and generally encouraged so as not to unduly inconvenience the other members of your dining party.

Holler - the place in West Virginia where my great grandma grew up. No, they are not referred to as "hollows," and "holler" is a VERY acceptable, commonplace term, as I had to inform my confused California roommate. It may have originally been called a hollow - or maybe someone figured out that you could holler and the sound would bounce off the surrounding hills...

Worms on my tongue - Not mopani worms (for my African friends), but our take on the phrase "waiting with bated breath." Upon further investigation, it appears that this is a quote from a weird 1970's TV show called Mork and Mindy - but it lives on in our household.

Hey! - an expression that is sure to garner the response, "Hey (hay) is for horses!"

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