McBride

We are all, what we are, because of our life’s experiences, where we’ve lived, the trips we’ve taken, the jobs we’ve had, and especially the people who’ve come into and gone from our lives.  Such a one for me, was McBride.  For about two years of a very formative period, he cut a Technicolor swath through my life.

Bestest friends for a while, we couldn’t have been more different.  Where I was quiet and reserved, he was loud, brash, outgoing and incurably happy.  He just didn’t have a volume control.  Even standing near enough to inspect his fillings, he always spoke as if you were across the room….or across the street.   His personality opened like a big, bright beach umbrella to cover everyone within reach.

Given the same first name as me, and only a month younger, he was born and raised in Barrie, Ontario.  When I lived there for a year, finding that the bank and I weren’t going to have a happy, long-term work relationship, he had moved to Toronto, hoping to find himself, and gainful employment.  When I moved back home for another run at life, he did the same thing.  When I moved to Kitchener, because that was where the jobs were, he did the same.  When we both found that jobs needed education, training and experience, we both wound up taking the same Adult Education course.

It didn’t take long to find that we had his hometown in common, knew the same people, had been the same places.  Besides potential employment, one reason he picked Kitchener was that his older, policeman brother lived here.  He stayed with the couple for a while, but they had a tiny little house, and two young children.  He needed a place to live.  I shared a double bed with my brother, in what was the converted parlor in a rooming house.  Always anxious to maximise her profit, the old Mennonite landlady added a cot, and let him live with us.

When 21 was the legal drinking age, and I was just learning how to wrestle Demon Rum and his friends, McBride was an experienced and dedicated partier.  I would take the trolley-bus home after school got out at 11:00 PM, but it was not unusual for him to roll in at three, or four.  One night he showed up with a big grin on his face.  Just 21, he had put the moves on, and escorted a 45 year old woman from the Secretarial Course home.  He rose to the occasion four times before leaving a happy and very satisfied gal, and walking three miles home.

He never met a beer he didn’t like, especially if it was free.  We were living on the equivalent of Unemployment Insurance.  Once he paid his rent and transport, there wasn’t much left.  He might party Friday night, because school got out at nine.  He might party Sunday night, because we could sleep in and go to school at 5 PM, but Saturday was his day at the Hotel.  Stuffy old Ontario didn’t have bars; they had closely monitored “beverage rooms” in licensed hotels.  Mixed drinks were almost unheard of.  They served beer.

He would spend an hour, Saturday morning, in the bathroom, while the landlady complained about lack of access.  He would emerge, shiny and polished, and ready to start some serious drinking.  A glass of draft beer cost 15 cents, and he was perennially broke.  He would borrow the fifteen cents for the first glass, and disappear for thirteen hours.  I couldn’t spend that long in a dim, smoky room full of noisy drunks, but he did it each and every week.  After leaving broke, he would return with a pocket full of coins and loose bills, drunk, and always well fed.  He always repaid the 15 cents, but never offered more.

Apparently, there were always games of chance/skill going on, penny-toss, the Ring Game, and something called Kadiddle.  I never found out if he cheated or was just a great player.  The first Saturday he left, the phone rang at 1:30 in the morning.  The landlady went to bed about 10.  I heard her get up and answer it in the hall, right outside my room.  Then she banged on my door, told me it was for me, and peevishly insisted that it never happen again.  It was the bartender at the hotel, demanding that I come and pick up the drunk who couldn’t stand, much less walk four blocks home.

The next couple of weeks, on Saturday night, I would move the phone and its stand into my room about midnight, with the cord under the door, as near my bed as it would stretch, and grab it on the first ring, so as not to waken Broomhilda.  Finally, I got smart, and just got dressed and left the house, quietly, at 1:15.

We were so broke we couldn’t afford to spend the afternoon, but he had great plans that we would move into a small apartment.  Back before single-use, plastic food containers, he started bringing home dishes.  If he had an order of French-fries, he put the plate and fork into his coat pocket.  He brought home a vinegar shaker, and a set of salt and pepper shakers.

Including ale, porter and stout, all beer in Ontario was served in a “lager glass.”  Shaped like a Coca-Cola glass, it had a white line a quarter inch from the rim, to assure that drinkers got full measure.  I went to pry him from his chair one night, and he clinked.  He had lager glasses in his pants pockets, across his stomach beneath his belt, down the sleeves of his coat.

Getting into the rooming-house was up two steps, across a landing, then up five more steps.  With me pushing, he made the first two easily enough.  When he took a run at the last five, he got about halfway up, lost his balance and reeled backward.  I managed to catch him and get him headed up again, but I had heard breaking glass.

I got him in reasonably quietly, he collapsed backward on my bed, and I started removing glass and glasses. He had 25 lager glasses, three of five, across his tummy, were broken.  He’s lucky he’s not a eunuch.  I dumped the broken stuff, set the empty ones on the dresser and poured him into his own bed.  When I woke the next day, he was still asleep, but six of the glasses were full of rented beer.

I last saw him about 25 years ago.  He had a regular run from Barrie to Kitchener as a gypsy trucker.  Between road trips and hard drinking, he’d lost a wife, but was still upbeat.  He opened my eyes to a lot of real life.  Have any of you had a “character” like this in your life?

8 Q

 

wonderful-team-member-readership-award

 

The second blog award that Benzeknees was spewing in the wind, like radiation from the Fukishima reactor, was the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award.  This is a relatively new award, begun by Managua Gunn on August 29, 2012.  His reason for creating the award is, “That is a part of blogging, just as listening is a part of speaking.” or something like that.  I wasn’t really paying much attention.

The Rules

Display the logo on your page.

Already done!  Not only am I a shiny objects magpie, I’m a cheap-ass Scottish magpie.  Something pretty?  And I get it for nothing??  That’s going up at the top.

Finish the sentence: A great reader is….

A great reader is….probably at someone else’s site.  The drivel I put out is like topical analgesic.  After a hard day at the office, or trying to finish a novel, you roll around in my hot-spa prose, and rub it on like A-535.  It smells almost as good and will probably allow you to go to sleep in minutes.  There are no hidden nuggets of social significance, and that big bubble was just marsh-gas!  Yeah, marsh-gas.

Nominate 14 readers, readers I truly value.

I truly value all my readers – and my likers – and my commenters.  Like you, I rub them on like A-535, and they let me go to sleep quickly and happily, with a nice warm feeling, although the wife often complains about that swamp-gas smell.  All the good candidates have already been taken, and I’m too lazy and selfabsorbed busy with my writing to locate others.

Notify your nominees by means of comments or pingbacks.

Well, you’ve already seen what happened in the way of nominees.  I am not the world’s best team-player.  I’m not even sure I’m authorised to accept an award with the word “Team” in it.  I’m a rugged individualist, damn it.  Who in Hell is authorised to authorise me to do anything?  And would I listen if they did?

Even though I don’t always play nice with others, I do appreciate the occasional bit of adulation, and the chance to get further off my rocker than usual.  Many thanks, in particular to Benzeknees, for forcing me to face this little exercise in composition, and to the rest of you who continue to read the rants and rambles of the grumpy old dude.  You drive my stats, and my spirits, up.  Excelsior!

Ever Stranger – Part 3

The work on the Marathon oil refinery, five miles up the highway, is almost complete.  There are only two big earth/stone moving trucks still parked in the motel lot, as well as a Ryder rental box-truck guarding a tarp-covered pile that turned out to be carpeting and underlay.  There was a car with Texas plates, and a Mercedes Sprinter van with Mexican plates, but they seemed to be just tourists.

After a Saturday morning and afternoon spent checking out guns and knives, the kid and I took another nap.  Both our sleep schedules were way off.  We left the motel again about 7 PM to go to the Outback for supper.  As we climbed into the car, the son mentioned that he could smell something burning.  His senses aren’t as old and feeble as mine.  Even notified, I didn’t detect anything.  After supper we drove up to a Wal-Mart and found some flavors of coffee creamers that the wife wanted.

We got back to our room just in time for the 11 o’clock news, and the lead story was about how a 162,000 gallon tank at the refinery had exploded and burned at 6:30.  That’s what the son smelled.  The refinery has its own fire department, and, with help from the city, they confined it to the one tank, and put it out in 90 minutes.  The tank wasn’t near where the work was being done, so that didn’t cause it, and was far enough back from I-75 that the highway was not closed.  The tunnel was closed for a security exercise Sunday morning from six until ten, but we planned on taking the bridge anyway.

I’m a little more used to “the Michigan way” than the son, but there are still things that intrigue me, for example, The Fifth Third Bank.  I can understand a First National, or a Third State Bank, but what in Hell is a Fifth Third Bank??!  Something that astounded the son was store clerks – helpful store clerks – knowledgeable store clerks.

As long as you’re moving, they leave you alone, but stop to even hitch up your pants, and one would coalesce out of the ether, and ask if they could help, and if you needed help, they provided it.  In Ontario, you’d have to go out the back, to the dumpster, to grab one having a smoke break, and even then (s)he wouldn’t know where your desired item was and would be too lazy busy to find someone who did.

When the wife and I first started visiting Detroit, the Denny’s we liked to breakfast at was a smoking establishment.  A couple of years later they would ask, “Smoking, or non?”  Not that it really mattered.  Unless you got the table furthest to the back, the smoke still drifted.  Recently they, and other restaurants, possibly led by Tim Hortons, have become smoke free.

Based on a dearth of butt-orphans, it seems fewer Michiganders are smoking, and I didn’t hear much about drinking and driving.  It still surprised the son to see both cigarettes and booze sold openly in grocery stores and pharmacies.  Makes sense to me, smokes, snacks, mix, liquor – all in the same place.  Up here in the nanny-state of Ontario, cigarettes can’t even be openly displayed.  All the stores must hide them behind cardboard blinds.  We used to confuse American tourists by selling beer at places called Brewers Retail.  Truth in advertising finally forced a name change to The Beer Store.  Anything stronger than beer must be purchased at Liquor Control Board outlets.  No grocery stores, no drugstores, and definitely no party stores.  We need to be protected from our baser urges.

Calling all BrainRants!  Attention!  Bacon!  Bacon!  Bacon!  We discovered the nearest Tim Hortons to the motel, just this side of the Outback.  Tim’s in Canada is advertising thicker bacon on their sandwiches, so I assume Our American Cousin is doing the same.

Whether influenced by that or not, Denny’s has introduced a new “Bacon Menu.”  They’ve added a Bacon Slam that has not previously been available, as well as Bacon everything.  They offer a bacon-flavored milkshake, a bacon sundae, and salty-bacon brownies.

I recently took the wife and daughter to a new store which allows purchases of individual units of both Keurig and Tassimo coffee pods.  They have a spot at the back where you can brew up a sample before you buy it.  There are a variety of creamers available, to add.  They have the plain creamer, as well as toffee, hazelnut and raspberry.  There, proudly sitting beside the rest, is bacon coffee flavoring.

Bacon Flavouring

 

 

 

 

 

 

If, ten years ago, Rants had bought stock in bacon and sriracha, today he’d own the world, instead of having to plot to take it over with one tank and his computer.  The computer is the more dangerous.

As we waited for our Denny’s breakfast, there was a family with a 9-year old boy, a 12-year old girl, and a 15-year old boy.  In the lobby there was one of those cash siphons where you put in a dollar bill, and try to get out a stuffed toy by manipulating a three-prong grabber.  The oldest boy mooched a buck from his dad and walked over.  I didn’t pay much attention, but thirty seconds later, back he came and handed his little brother a stuffed dog.

Dad gave him another dollar, and he walked back to the no-arm bandit.  I didn’t even have time to turn and watch him, and he returned and gave his sister a cute stuffed cat.  Dad handed him another bill, and this time I watched carefully.  Before I even got a crick in my neck, he had another plush toy which thrilled his mother.  A fourth attempt brought them nothing, but I’ve seen kids fool with these things for hours, and get nothing but carpal tunnel.  Three in quick succession is fantastic.

We’re going to hit the flea market/food court, and then head back across the river for home.  Stay tuned on this same batty channel.

In The Name Of The Son

Even in today’s society, who you are is often important in terms of who you are in relation to others.  Back when surnames were being handed out, relationships were even more important, especially for the rich and titled, but also for the common man.  Many surnames, in many languages, tell who our forefather was.

In English, it would seem obvious, although many fail to understand the significance.  If your name ends in “son”, who’s your (great-great-great-grand) daddy?  There are Johnson, and Jackson, Donaldson, our favorite commenter, Erickson, Tomson (although it’s often spelled Thomson, Thompson, or even Tompson), and Williamson.

I worked for several years with a Bill Williamson.  I commented one day that his name was actually William, William’s son, and asked if his dad was a Bill, also.  Dad’s name was Robert, but he and mom had immigrated from Wales, and Bill’s real first name was Gwyllem.

My blue-painted, claymore-wielding, skirt-wearing ancestors were much interested in lineage also.  The Scottish-Gaelic word for “son” was Mac.  A large percentage of Scottish names therefore mean “son of”.  MacDougall, MacDonald, MacIntosh, MacKenzie, Macready, etc.

Fitz is an English/French prefix also meaning son of.  It comes from the Latin, filius.  It gives us names like Fitzsimmons, Fitzpatrick and Fitzgibbons.  Fitz, however, means illegitimate son of.  This was especially important to the royalty and aristocracy.  The one surname which was not supposed to exist, was Fitzroy.  This was an illegitimate son of a king, and had the power to cause civil war for inheritance rights.

To be the first son of someone important, meant inheriting….title, land, money, income and power.  Second and third sons got next to nothing, and often had to beg for support from the first-born.  There was pressure to go out into the world and perform daring feats to wrest some fame and fortune for themselves.

North America was not taken and settled by Spanish first-borns.  The Spanish word hidalgo comes from “hijo d’algo” – meaning “son of *someone*”, or “a son with something”, a horse, a sword, and enough money to get into trouble.  Much of history has been wrought by second sons trying to get a little, or a lot, for themselves.

Once upon a time, a large group of Scottish second-sons got together and decided to take over Ireland, since Scotland was already divvied up.  Many were successful at obtaining land and serfs for themselves, and they settled in comfortably.  First came love, then came marriage, pretty soon the baby-carriage and then the lazy pronunciation habits of the Irish changed all the good Scottish Macs into Irish Mcs.  They became McArthur, McClure, McMahon and McMillan.  This is where the slang term Micks, for Irishmen came from.

Ireland had already been taught English by the time the need for surnames occurred.  Many were given the name, “the son of *their father*”.  Lazy pronunciation soon turned son “of”, into O’Malley, O’Hara, O’Daye, O’Connor, and the like.  Clocks and time are not Irish, but that same lax pronunciation turned, ten (hours) of the clock, into ten o’clock.

In Arabic, the word for son is Ibn.  The Hebrew word is rendered in English as Ben.  Israel’s first prime Minister was David Ben-Gurion.  Many languages use a suffix rather than a prefix to indicate “son of”.  In Polish, the majority of names end in –ski.  All the rest are Polish toboggans, or so the Pole named Yantha told me.

From Russian, the Cyrillic-language, son-of suffix, comes to English as, of, off, ov and ev.  Ivanoff and Petrov mean son of John, and son of Peter.  Russians are often creative with their names, sometimes taking new ones to hide behind.  Vladimir Lenin’s surname means ‘Iron.”  To go him one better, Joseph Stalin adopted a name which means “Steel.”  I’ve never read why Nikita Khrushchev took his last name.  It has the “ev” suffix meaning son of, but the Russian word khrusht, means “beetle.”

It seems that most languages are only interested in who you were the son of.  Russian is one of the few which also has an identifier for “daughter”.  It takes the patronymic family name and adds the suffix “ova”.  The female cosmonaut was Valentina Tereshkova.

In one of the James Bond movies, the writers did a little joke by giving a sexually aggressive, female Russian agent the double entendre name of Onatop.  I can find no proof that Onatop is a real Russian name.  Even if it were, correctly, she would be Onatopova, but that wouldn’t tickle teenage male humor.

Nordic languages like Swedish and Icelandic have the suffix “sen”, which means the same as “son.”  They also have the female version, “dottir” for, you guessed it, daughter.  In these languages, the surnames change every generation.  If you are Gunnar Thorvaldsen, your father’s name is Thorvald.  Your son is Erick Gunnarsen, and his male child, John Erickson, becomes a famous blog-commenter.  (How did he sneak in here again?  Somebody close and lock the door!)

Your female child would be Frieda Gunnarsdottir, and would keep that name even after marrying, but her little girl might be Inga Svensdottir.

I was going to title this post, “It’s All Relative”, but since a large part of the world still has a fascination with male offspring, I went with the son label.  I know most of us are leery about revealing actual names on the open internet, but, do any of my readers have an “offspring of” name?

7 Q

best-moment-awardBenzeknees has been busy successfully completing the A To Z In April challenge.  During that time, she’s accumulated four different blog awards.  Now that she’s done, it’s time to inflict pass these on to other deserving bloggers.  Benze is a very intelligent writer.  Well, she’d have to be.  She lives in the Edmonton, Alberta section of the Great White North.

All the residents of Edmonton are so smart that they pushed up a big pile of mountains between them and the dope-smoking, tree-hugging, granola-crunching, Birkenstock sandal-wearing residents of the Canadian left-coast, to keep them from leaking back east.

Not knowing what else to do with these awards, she kindly offered me one copy of each of them….at a reduced rate.  The first one she dumped on me graciously passed on, was the Best Moment Award, seen above.  The rules are that the rules must be reposted with your acceptance speech, which can be written or video recorded.  Winners have the privilege of naming the next group of awardees.  The repost should include a new set of awardees and the current winner should inform them of the good news.

The good news is that I don’t know any bloggers who give good acceptance speeches, so I’m not tossing this one into the manure spreader.  I know a great burrito and re-fried beans maker, a spinner, and a couple of IT techs, but no great speechmakers.  If you want a copy of this award, you’re going to have to pull it from my cold dead….no, wait a minute, that’s the NRA.  I met a couple of them in Detroit at the gun show.  I told one guy I didn’t want to join, and he pulled a gun on me.  I explained that I was Canadian.  He apologised and gave me a picture of his wife, wearing nothing but a Mossberg shotgun.

This award seems to be given for making a great acceptance speech for being given this award.  That seems to be circular logic to me, but then, I’m often seen wandering around in circles, speechifying and orating and gesticulating, and other stuff that could get me arrested if anybody reported it.

I am pleased though, that Benze thinks enough of my writing ability to forward this opportunity to have a little fun at my own expense.

To make a great acceptance speech I am to show gratitude and thank those who have helped me reach this point.  I have effusively thanked Benze. (Not effusive enough??!  I’ll get out the leaf-blower.)  I’ll be busy with that for a minute, the rest of you guys each just take one out of petty cash.

I should use humor to keep you entertained and smiling.  I see most of you smiling.  At me, or with me, I’m not sure.  Dying is easy.  Humor is tough!

Inspiration!  I should make my story touch your lives.  Generally, I’m the only one people refer to as touched.  Even if I only serve as a negative example.  This is a tough job, which should only be performed by trained professionals.  Kids, do not attempt this at home.

The last rule is that I’m supposed to display the award badge on my blog/website.  Being the magpie, interested in shiny things, that I am, I’ve already taken care of that.  I guess all that’s left for me is to shut up and go away, and I certainly know how to shut up.  This is me, shutting up.  One time I shut up so much, I almost starved to death….wouldn’t tell my parents I was hungry….could somebody open the door please?

Strangers – Part Deux

The knife show – and other excitements.

We woke at 8 AM Saturday morning in Detroit, and got ready to go to the knife show, which started at 9.  It’s about a half-hour drive away.  Back before Christmas, when the son was doing his shopping for presents, he picked up a nice little Garmin GPS unit for himself at $40.  It’s been in his room, still in the box, but he thought he might like to bring it along.  We plugged it into the wife’s laptop the night before, to charge it.

As we were doing breakfast-y things, the son entered the motel’s address, and the address of the hall we were going to.  He’d already put in our home address, so it knew where we lived, but for the rest, it just printed, “Acquiring satellites” and sat there.  He thought it might be because we were under concrete and steel, so he moved it to the window sill, but, another ten minutes and still, “Acquiring satellites”.  When we were ready to leave, he threw it on the bed, bitching that he had wasted $40.  I told him to bring it along.  He disdainfully tossed it in the back seat.

As we moved up the driveway toward the street, a female voice from the back loudly proclaimed, Recalculating.  Please proceed 75 yards to Eureka Rd, and turn left.  Two problems with that, it’s a one-way street, and the show is to the right.  Maybe she wanted me to go to a hardware store and buy her an upgrade.  I turned right.  Recalculating.  Now she’s figured which direction I want to go but, Proceed 600 yards and turn right on Telegraph Rd.  I’ve already checked with MapQuest, and want to continue straight ahead.  It’s two kilometers farther, but five minutes faster, so I proceed through the intersection.  RECALCULATING!  Damn!!  That’s three times I’ve heard that word, and I can still see the motel in the mirror.  Oh, it’s gonna be a loonngg half-hour drive.

The show was bigger this spring.  The hall is modular, so they took three bays instead of two.  The knives were beside the guns, not at the back as they have been stuck in the past.  Lots of the Rusty Jackknife crowd, but several custom makers as well, including one from Sarnia, ON, who we know from the Toronto shows.  There was a certain overlap of displays.  The custom knife makers wanted to display and sell only their knives, but the knife purveyors were permitted to display a few firearms, and several gun dealers also displayed factory-made knives.

We ran into a woman at a booth who told us she was from Sevierville, Tenn.  This is home territory to several well-known makers.  Up here in Canada, where 50% of the English-speakers have to be fluent in French because most of the 10% who speak French, won’t bother to learn English, that name would be pronounced sev-yay-vill.  Down there, it’s severe-vull, like Knoxvull, and Nashvull, and Loo-uh-vull.  (That’s Louisville, for those of you who don’t speak redneck.)

When I suggested that she had just a bit of an accent, she told me I had to visit the maker from Alabama, in the next row.  “Ah cain’t hardly unnerstan a word he’s sayun!”  There were a couple of kiosks in the entry with internet-enabled computers.  I knew that my pre-scheduled post hadn’t worked out, but could do nothing about it from that distance.

I took a few photos of a knife collection, to show the different styles and sizes made.

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The big bowie-style knife with the man’s face on the handle, was made by that gentleman.  The man who bought it, paid a lady scrimshander to add his likeness.  She also does other art, like ivory carving.  The son bought a hear-no-evil, etc., etc. trio, about as big as two fingers, from her.  The knife-maker is the man I purchased my only custom knife from.  I paid a retired veterinary-magazine illustrator to scrimshaw the two gryphons onto it.  One has eagle’s wings; the other has dragonfly wings.  Note how he wrapped the tails around the center pin.  He included his working drawings, dedicated to the wife and me.

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Gryphon 2

Kyle's Scrimshaw

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Thanks for coming by to look and read.  I’ll post more about the trip soon.  The ooh-ing and aah-ing may now begin.

You Don’t Say

While English is the only language I speak, I have done a lot of study of other languages where words or phrases have entered ours.  English is, at the same time, a complex language, and yet dead simple.  I prize it for the fact that, with some study and understanding, it is capable of producing subtly nuanced meanings.

An American politician in the late 1800s stated that there should be no dictionaries, because no two words in the language mean exactly the same thing.  I have heard and read people who ask, Why are there so many synonyms in English?  The answer is that there are a range of words which allow the user to choose the exactly desired meaning.  The right word, and the almost-right word are not the same thing.  As Mark Twain explained, “There’s a mighty difference between lightning, and a lightning-bug.”

Interestingly, (to me) the language also has a whole range of words which allow the timid to not say exactly what they mean.  Many Muslims will not write the name Allah, because they then have to respectfully get rid of the paper it was written on.  Burning it while praying is the accepted practice.  So too, many Jews will not write the Hebrew word for Yahweh, or even the English word God, for the same reason.  Many people, non-Jews included, write only G*d, thus escaping the ritual.

While respect for God, and the name of God, is admirable, it is a man-directed mental state.  The Biblical commandment is to “Not take the name of God in vain.”  This actually means not to bug God with trivial stuff, or ask for things you don’t really deserve….in other words, most prayer.

Reticent speakers/writers use a wide range of euphemisms, expressions which state clearly what is intended, while pussyfooting around actually saying something which often isn’t really offensive.  The first time I ran into it was in a “Tammy” movie, in the late 50s.  Sandra Dee, playing Tammy, had something go poorly, and firmly stated *Amsterdam!*  Amsterdam? queried her rooming house hostess.  “Yes, and Rotterdam, and all them other damns!”   So she’d clearly pronounced the word, and everyone knew what she meant, but she hadn’t really said it.

Many of the strange Britishisms that you may have run into, center on not saying God.  Egad refers to (the) God.  Gadzooks were God’s hooks, which he used to create the Universe.  Od’s bodkin was God’s bodkin, a spike-like fabricating tool, used to create….  By Jove is just the use of the name of a god believed not to exist, in place of the name of the one believed to exist.

The Australian, strooth, is a reference to “His truth.”  Bleeding and bloody both refer to Christ, on the cross.  The Cockney, cor blimey, started as the expression, “God blind me, for I am not worthy of seeing Your glory.”

Since it is God who would have to do it, many folks also have trouble with the word, Damn.  Dash it all, darn it, and dang, often fill in.  It’s a little dated, but even dagnabit is still uttered occasionally.  Gosh, taken from the Bible, Land of Goshen, often takes the place of the name of God, gosh-durn, gosh-darn and gosh-dang.  The prefix –gol produces the same I-didn’t-say-it effect, with gol-durn, gol-darn and gol-dang.

Dr. Spooner had a speech defect which had him inverting the initial sounds of following words.  For him, a shining wit was actually a whining shit.  Doc Spooner’s inversions are used to bring us Yosemite Sam’s “Dag-gummed”.  Reversing that reversal quickly shows what the Hays Commission wouldn’t let our little cartoon character say.

You can shoot the shit, unless you can’t face saying it.  Then you just leave out the s**t, and say, Oh shoot, or shucks.  My father described the verbally repressed by, “Wouldn’t say shit, if he had a mouthful.”  The first words you learn in another language are often the profanities.  When I was in the Adult Education, with accent on Adult, one of the English-speaking men came out with “scheisse”, German for shit.  A younger, German-speaking female shockedly asked, “Does he know what that means?”  I would imagine he does, although, in an English-speaking class, that’s another euphemism.

The concept of sexual intercourse is another whose solid, Anglo-Saxon descriptor is often replaced, in *polite* conversation.  You’re big kids.  You know what I’m talking about.  Because of a bureaucratic mix-up, a local single mother and her five-year-old son spent a cold weekend when their delivery of fuel-oil didn’t arrive till Monday.  She managed to get some warmth from the stove and an electrical heater, but was quoted in the newspaper as saying, “It was frigging cold.”

Some blue-nosed Bible-thumper complained that the paper had printed that word, especially on the front page, “Because we all know what that word really means”.  You damned, strait-laced fool, that’s what euphemisms are for.  Frigging actually has a dictionary value of, “meaningless intensifier”, unlike similar words like fricking, freaking and fracking.

So, to those of you without the intestinal fortitude to call a spade a spade, or who are surrounded by audiences full of sensitive ears and feelings, you can be happy that you have a language which allows you to use speech so tactful, that you can tell some asshole to go to hell in such a nice way that he’ll welcome the trip and enjoy the stay when he gets there.