Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cuss Words and So On


The parents’ lessons linger long:
Anything worth doing is worth doing well
Put your back into it, girl
You knucklehead! You numbskull!
Shut up or I’ll give you something to cry about
You’d gripe if you was hung with a new rope
And worst of all:
Which meant the sky was going to fall.

This is a Friday Flash 55. If you want to tell a story in exactly 55 words, post it and go tell the host with the most, the G-Man.

I’m sure my parents said some fine things about life, aside from that one gem about “Anything worth doing is worth doing well,” but what I remember today is the more colorful stuff.
Some of it was funny, and some of it was hard.

From the get-go, doing what we were told without complaint was the order of the day. Punishment was swift and corporal otherwise. If I cried afterward, I got that awful “Shut up or I’ll give you something to cry about.” I hated that one. It was demeaning.
But I grew up to be a good worker and not a whiner.

My dad was the source of the colorful life lessons. Although he liked to call his kids knuckleheads and numbskulls, which isn’t nice, he also criticized with a home-grown humor. He was the one who said, “You’d gripe if you was hung with a new rope” and “Watch out or you'll trip over that lower lip.” Another favorite is “You got champagne tastes on a beer budget.”

He once told us solemn youngsters, “Do what your mother says. If she says, ‘Shit!’ you say, ‘Where and how much?’” I actually said that to my mother the next time I heard her say, “Shit!” I got in big trouble.

(To tell the honest truth, I had to take the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous before I could let all this trauma lie peacefully in the past. It also helped that I grew up.)

Dad walked jauntily and carried a big belt. Mom had a sharp tongue and a temper. She was a slammer of cupboard doors. On the other hand, she was also the source of the funniest cuss word I’ve ever heard.

I think she made up that word “Shingamucka-high-lo!” (which I present to you phonetically since I have no idea how it would be spelled). It always had an exclamation point behind it, and it expressed either shock, contempt, dismay, or surprised anger over a bad thing. I find myself using it these days to express the same reactions.

Has anyone out there ever heard the word “Shingamucka-high-lo!” in any form whatsoever?

I ask in earnest because a) It would be cool if Mom made up a word, and b) my first husband used to say something that sounded like “I chi notay pin chay cab rhone!” when he hurt himself, and then I started using it too (thinking it was a Japanese cuss word from his navy years) until I married my beloved Joe, who is fluent in Spanish, and he informed me it was a nasty insult that mustn’t be used in any context except a street fight, and then only if I wanted my butt kicked.




The Silver Fox said...

Heh. Sounding out "I chi notay pin chay cab rhone," I anticipated the Spanish origin, but "Singamuckahighlo" is a new one on me! Maybe your mom did create it! Cool!

steveroni said...

I like the way your mind works, Chris--or maybe it is your Mom's mind, or your father's...or maybe I don't know what I'm talking about here?

Go to get some sleep, thinks me!

Here is "55" of MINE

Argent said...

What a great word. I've never heard it anywhere else. My mum used to do the shut up or I'll give you something to cry about line too.

anthonynorth said...

Well, I've never heard of that one, but it's certainly catchy.

Mrsupole said...

Never heard the one your mom told you and it would be cool if she made it up.

My mom would say that everything was shitty, or just the word shit. And so to this day when I get hurt I say "Oh shit, damn that hurt" And I do say that things look shitty or someone did a shitty job. I guess we do learn the lessons taught by our parents. Actually I use lots and lots of cuss words, but I have been trying to change the errors of my ways and I am now saying crap or crappy, and sucks and sucky. It seems to work pretty good and no one even blinks an eye when I use those words. So they have been quickly becoming my cuss words of choice.

Maybe you should have a contest of who can come up with the best new saying. Then we could start saying it and spreading it around the world. We would be starting a very important movement. LOL

God bless.

Karen said...

Chris, I grew up with similar sayings. Don't forget, "You kids think money grows on trees." (No, but we wish!) and this one for something really raunchy: "That would puke a buzzard!" (Now, I'd say that is nasty!) My all-time unfavorite was, "Don't do as I do; do as I say." Yeah, right.

Brian Miller said...

see, not only am i greated with nice 55s, but i get language lessons as well. smiles. it is new on get in many streetfights?

Birdie said...

haha! great great post!! I always learn some new stuff here ;-) singamuckahighlo!! have a great w-e Chris!! (where are the pics from the camping?? :-P )

TechnoBabe said...

Good 55, also good to keep getting these things out. I have never heard of Shingamucka-high-lo! until I read this. My father had the belt but used it to excess on my brother. My mother had a switch from a tree or a broom handle or a long board and used them on me. My brother and I were called knucklehead and numbskull as well as other more choice words by the father and not as much by mother. In our family it was "Speak when you're spoken to", "Do as you're told", and when that didn't work the soap in the mouth was the beginning of hours of punishment. See what you got started here???

John's comments said...

Impressed, new cuss words to try out!

my 55 here

Marion said...

Never heard of shingamuckahighlo, but it IS a good word. You could put emphasis in various places and it could be different each time!

I really disliked "watch out or you'll trip over that lower lip." I got that phrase so often! "Champagne tastes on a beer budget" was used during my teen years.

This brought back a lot of not-so-good memories, Chris! I learned not to use these on my kids.

Georgina said...

My Dad was a source of witty one-liners too. It was really hard not to laugh sometimes when he would use one of his crazy expressions in an argument. As for my Mom, she never swore, except once. And I still remember the exact moment when it happened, where I was, what I was wearing. I still bug her about it sometimes and she blushes like crazy! - G

Enchanted Oak said...

I like Mrsupole's idea that we start a blog contest to come up with ridiculous new sayings, and then spread them worldwide. Anyone on board with that?

Karen's family tradition, "That would puke a buzzard," is new to me. It's beautifully graphic. I'm going to borrow it and say, "That would make a buzzard puke," next time someone gives me TMI.

Technobabe and Marion walk the bad-memory trail I am familiar with. Sorry for awakening childhood crap. But as Marion points out, we did our damnedest to break the trend and not use those harsh sayings on our own kids. Hurray for us!

And as for street fights, I never even saw one, let alone participated in one. I have always been the littlest person in a group, and that made me a peacemaker out of necessity. Once I was surrounded by an angry group of girls in high school, intent on kicking my as*, but I out-talked them because I had a logical mind. ("You don't want to kick my as*. You want to kick the as* of the dope who told you that lie about me. That dope tried to sucker you. Why would I say such things about you when you're all bigger than I am? Come on, let's go ask her face to face." And off we went, twelve angry black girls and little pansy me. Said dope wasn't to be found. Phew! Shingamuckahighlo!)

G-Man said...

And if EVERYBODY jumped off a cliff you would too?
And if you don't stop RIGHT NOW...I'm going to turn this blog around and go home!
Excellent 55 Chris...
One of your best!
Thanks for visiting, thanks for playing, and have a Kick Ass Holiday Week-End...G

Magpie said...

I love the 55, Chris! Excellent job and it sparked so many memories. I'm familiar with all those one-liners used and a few not there:
"You'd argue with a sign you painted yourself" - I must have been bull-headed back then (too).
"If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride" - that one was a favorite of mine.
And this one was often said about me - "If she wakes up laughing, she'll go to bed crying" - what a sad thought...couldn't I just have fun all day without getting in trouble??
My father never spanked me - my mother did often. I hated when she slapped my face - so humiliating. At the age of 15 she went to slap me, I grabbed her hand and looked her straight in the eye and said don't ever slap me in the face again. She left the room, went to her room and cried and I felt like a schmuck, but she never slapped me again.
I'm on board for the contest. Sounds like fun!

RNSANE said...

I am so glad, at my age, to learn a near cuss word....fuck is so crass and common. I much prefer something elite so I hope I can borrow your family heirloom, Chris. It almost sounds like a cheer, my dear!

Fun 55, and an even funnier narrative. My mother used to be a stern disciplinarian. She'd make my brother and I go pick a switch from the bushes in our front yard..and, if we didn't get one that she felt adequate, she go for one herself and the forbade badly for us.

Alice Audrey said...

I'll bet she did make that word up. I made up a swearword much like it when I was in Jr. High so I could swear without getting into trouble. No one could complain because they didn't know what it meant, but they knew it wasn't good.

Titanium said...

A creative take on self-expression... the world needs more of this!

On a side note, when I curse (which happens far too frequently) my daughter looks at me with one raised eyebrow and sez, "Having a limited vocabulary day, Mom?"

That tends to take the fun out of the f-word.

Argent said...

Just remembered some more parental wisdom(?). My Dad used to refer to us as 'crate-eggs' if he thought we were stupid (which, sadly, he often did). My Mum would answer any 'What's that?' question with 'It's a wing-wong for meddlers to wind up the sun.' She got that from her mum. To this day, puzzling things are still wing-wongs.

Nana Jo said...

I love the warmth and love and honesty of your writing. My family, too, has its own special form of self-expression. I was probably about ten before I realised that not every family says 'son-of-sea-cookie' when they mean son-of-a-bitch or similar.

Vodka Logic said...

Words to live by and be hurt by.. great 55

Mine is up

Jingle said...

brilliant 55.

PattiKen said...

I think our dads must have been related. Mine would answer my "If only I had (fill in the blank)" with "And if my aunt had wheels, she's be a trolley car."

I enjoyed this.

Beth Niquette said...

I really like that cuss word of your Mother's! My husband has one--he says "Dadgumbit." Now I say it too. parents never told us we were stupid, or a numbskull. But when I had important questions I would ask, he would say, "to make a little girl ask questions..." and then he wouldn't answer me.

I gave up asking him after awhile.

I can remember getting my mouth washed out with soap when I said "Damnit!" (grin) I didn't say it after that.

I remember getting in trouble for saying for the Halibut, to my Mom, not realizing what it sounded like. A friend of mine said it--I thought it was cool to talk about a fish--and got in trouble for it.

I said, "what do you mean?" Mom said, "You know what you mean!" Well, I really didn't have any idea. lol

It wasn't until I was an adult, married, with a small child that I realized what I actually had been saying! EEeeeeek!

So, Shingamucka-high-lo! I've found my new word.

((hugs)) You are a VERY dear lady.

Beth Niquette said...

I'm on board for spreading the silly sayings--one of which is, "Do you think you are living in a barn? Close that door!"

((hugs)) It could be called, "Funny Sayings My Mom Said." lol

Barbara and Nancy said...

The closest my mother came to cussing was "hells bells". Her relatives in a little mid western town said "well, forever more!" My father, like Beth's, said "dadgumbit".

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