My dad is notorious for using phrases that aren’t commonly used today, if at all. The words leave me blushing inside and asking myself why he doesn’t substitute a more appropriate word. Take for instance the word “dicker.” Used in a sentence: I had to dicker with the mousetrap to get it to work. I’ve never met anyone other than my dad who uses that word. (Side note: It’s still a mystery to me how the name Richard is shortened to Dick? That’s my uncle’s name and I’ve felt uncomfortable addressing him since I was old enough to know that dick was slang for penis. If anyone knows the origins, please enlighten me.) And on that same note, my children have already caught on and look for any opportunity to inquire about Uncle Dick or ask me to take them to Dick’s sporting goods. Wasn’t there another name on the drawing board?
Hump. That’s another word my dad uses. Used in a sentence: Just study hard and hump it these next few weeks until finals are over. For me, the meaning of the word hump is the same as how my mom envisions the word screw. All I picture is my dog popping a pink one and gyrating uncontrollably in the air. I guess those words are just what makes my dad special. That and once asking my brothers to put the ladder up while he was still on the roof!
There are those words that when standing alone mean nothing, but when combined take on a whole other meaning. Take the phrase “chill out” that’s equally as inciting as “relax” especially when coming from a pimply preteen. My son has a habit of saying both. Tell me to do either one and I’m bound to do neither. And don’t get me started with how I feel when he says, “That’s what she said.” Who is she and where is her mother? My son also pushes the boundaries by calling our cat a “pussy,” which I think is just as foul as calling our dog a “bitch.” But being twelve is all about discovering those few crossover words that make him believe in his own cleverness.
And what about the phrase pussyfoot? I’d always assumed that was a bad word until I heard a T.V. commentator use it on a non-cable channel. It’s interesting how my view towards certain words that were prohibited throughout my childhood has carried over to adulthood. I had to unlearn some rules that were so engrained that I never questioned them. Lastly, I never use the word panty. Not for my Hanky Pankies and not for my girls’ Hanes. Panty has a sexual connotation so I use the broad, gender neutral term underwear instead. You’ll also never hear me say “TT” for pee. I’m as confused about that phrase as I am about the shortening of Richard to Dick. I guess there are some mysteries that will always remain unsolved.
And on the subject of The Goldbergs, you're really missing out if you aren't already a fan. This is our show; By our, it's for every child of the 80s who could never relate to That '70s Show. The show brings to life the images sketched in our memories and sometimes developed by Fox Photo. From the decor of wood and cane dining chairs to the busy floral prints and dull blue picture matting; to the cars that stretched from mailbox to mailbox in length with seat belts that were perpetually loose and ill-fitting; and the ever present track suit wearing tennis mom who was never anywhere near a court, the show's setting is perfectly reminiscent of my childhood. And maybe yours, too.