Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Horse-pucky, mama-yamas, and God's sack

Some folks have used “typo” as the model for new goof-describing words. For example, a “speako” is a verbal blunder, like when my mother says she is allergic to Pennsylvania. If Mom actually believed that the fine state of Pennsylvania was as bad for her health as penicillin, that would be a “thinko”—a more serious hilarious problem. I don’t know if “thinko” or “speako” will ever catch on in articles not about the president, but I like the concept, maybe because I’ve made a few “beeros,” “sexos,” “debtos,” and “vacuum cleaneros” in my day.

In the spirit of football season, here’s a Pittsburgh-area euphemism for shitting that’s covert, disgusting, and ESPN-approved: “taking the Browns to the Super Bowl.”

Since standardized tests are widely believed to be a fair measure of diddly-squat, they are in constant use at every level of education. My friend Lionel, a teacher in Virginia, was amused to learn that their state’s English and math exam is called the SOL test. Yes, that’s the Shit Outta Luck test, though if you worked for a Virginia school, you’d have to call it the Standards of Learning test. Well, whatever the Virginian powers-that-be were thinking, smoking, or inserting rectally when they named this one, we can at least give them credit for truth in advertising.

A colleague recently said an article of mine wasn’t full of the usual hooey. I don’t know if my work is really hooey-free, but “hooey”—a shortened version of “horse hooey,” which, like “horsepucky,” is a euphemism for “horseshit”—is a great word.

While playing stinky pinky in the spasm chasm with a fuddy-duddy and some bird turds, do you ever have a bowel howl?

In Jesse Sheidlower’s amazing dictionary The F Word, there are many synonyms for “motherfucker,” including “mother-fouler,” “mother-grabber,” “mother-humper,” “mother-rubber,” “mammy-jammer,” “mofo,” and “muh fuh.” My favorite didn’t make it: “mama-yama.” I’ve heard this word on a few TV shows, like Seinfeld, when Kramer used it a few times as a stunned exclamation upon seeing disheveled-looking women, and on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when Willow referred to herself as a “hot mama-yama.” Like “fuck a duck!” and “pooper-scooper,” this little rhyme is fun to say, and it’s very likely no one will realize it means “motherfucker” when you say it, which can be a plus when writing for network television or talking to your actual mama.

If you ask most teachers a question that starts with “can”—like, “Can I remove your skull, and shrink it, and stuff it, and make sweet, buttered monkey love to it, and mount it on a stick?”—the answer will be “Yes, you may” or “I don’t know. Can you?”

On the Television Without Pity website, it’s easy to find snarky recaps of TV shows, snarky discussions of TV shows, and far too many sightings of the trendy and annoying word “snarky.” Fortunately, members of this site have developed other lingo that’s used more sparingly and is thus much fresher, such as this exclamation: “For God’s sack!” Like so many language innovations, this began as a goof—a typo that was supposed to read “For God’s sake!” The site’s lexicon says “It’s not an error; it’s a joke” but I say it’s much better than that: “For God’s sack!” could really catch on, because of its crudity and gender-specificity. Crudity and exclamations go together like reggae songs and four-foot bongs, and the notion of swearing by the Good Lord’s sacred scrotum should pass for crude in any household, making it appropriate to scream the next time you hit your thumb or offspring with a hammer. As for gender, while it’s true that some folks think of God as a woman, an invisible force, or an elephant, most people insist that the omnipotent being is a man—and a he-man’s manly, godly man at that. Since “For God’s sack!” directly names the testicular pouch of the Lord, taking His maleness for granted, it should be easy to slip this phrase into Sunday hymns, office memos, and the collective unconscious.

A person who is “khaki-wacky” is having many lustful thoughts about members of the armed forces. A “bedpan commando” is a hospital orderly, and “Admiral Apeshit” is a name for a nut. In college, there was one guy we used to call “Sergeant Skidmark,” and I used to affectionately refer to an old girlfriend as “Sergeant Shitcake” (which, in retrospect, may have not been a positive contribution to the relationship). Now you can’t say you didn’t learn anything about the military today.

The words of the week:
10) Tomacco
9) Hornswoggle
8) Glop
7) Poop-chute-friendly
6) Crotchety
5) Ferret-approved
4) Disasterized
3) Man-whore
2) Gadzooks
1) Numb-nuttery

My Jamaican friend Coleen has a great exclamation: “Jeezum-peezum!” That’s one of many euphemisms for Mr. Jesus H. Christ, which include “by crikey,” “geez,” “gee whiz,” “Jeepers creepers,” “jiminy crickets,” “Judas priest” and “Jumpin’ Jehosephat.” My favorite substitute for “Jesus” doesn’t sound anything like “Jesus” or “Christ,” but it does sound like a good breakfast: “pancakes.” I don’t know why it works, but it works: Holy mother of pancakes! What in the name of pancakes? Sweet bleedin’ pancakes! For the love of pancakes! What in the pancake-lovin’ hell? Holy jumping fucking pancakes! See what I mean? Now I just need a t-shirt that asks, “What would pancakes do?”


Anonymous said...

I always thought that horse pucky meant horse semen. I also always thought that codswallop meant human semen, as in what the contents of a codpiece emits when it packs a wallop. These were the usages of Australian teenagers in the 60s.

Anonymous said...

How could you forget Jeebus?

Anonymous said...

Actually, I've heard something like "Jeez an' Peas," and have actually had it explained to me that it means "Jesus and Peas." Similarly, there's "Jeez an' Fadder" (Jesus and Father).