Dictionary Of Nonsense
by Nicole Freire
Every family has their own language, their own vocabulary, their own lexicon.
I am not talking about geographical differences in language -- how someone in California might refer to a drinking fountain as a "drinking fountain" and someone else in Boston will call it a "bubbler". Bubbler is cute, but we all know that the correct term is drinking fountain. See, don't you agree? It's us versus them.
As a young child, I was convinced that my parents had friends named the "Whoozits", because I would overhear conversations about these mysterious people who never came to brunch on time or who had questionable taste in wallpaper.
We had a family friend who talked nonsense all the time. "Hey, Taco! Go get me some bug juice!" His children were awfully quiet, probably because they didn't understand that:
a) He was calling them, "Taco"
b) "Bug juice" really meant beer
I thought it perfectly normal to call a flower a "flafoo" but even I knew that "bug juice" was a ridiculous name for beer.
When I first met my husband -- before we were married of course -- we were still in the early stage where I pretended that I liked to go camping -- I was polite and didn't blink when he ordered a "sodee" while I ordered iced tea.
Say what? "Sodee?" In my dear one's family, a Coke or Pepsi was not a soft drink or a soda or other refreshing carbonated beverage. Nope, it was a "sodee".
Silly, right? How about a grilled cheese sandwich? Would you like one with your sodee? Because if you have it with a "sodee", you will be having a "toaster cheeser."
Once we were married and I finally admitted that I would rather poke my eyes out than go camping, I knew I had to incorporate his family definitions with mine.
I started thinking about funny family language last week, when I was still knee-deep in DNA and the mysterious ways that family can work.
Do you know what "coo coo pots" is? According to my grandmother, it was an illness that you could only get by sucking on a wet washcloth during your bath.
I know what you're thinking - you're saying to yourself, "Gross! Coo coo pots?" And I would say to you, "Uh, uh, no you don't!" But what would come out of my mouth would sound like this, "Uh, uh chi-chi-na-na".
It means the same thing, however you decide to say it.
For my sister and my brother-in-law, breakfast is not breakfast but ‘brekkie". Sort of like, "Trekkie" but with eggs and bacon instead of pointy ears.
Let's take a little test, shall we? Translate the following story:
"Well, I was so lowgee that I forgot to have brekkie. I had time for some sodee, because it was way too early for bug juice. I wanted to have a toaster cheeser, but we were out of bread. Later on, I felt like I was coming down with coo coo pots, but I said to my husband, ‘Uh uh chichinana', there is no way I am getting sick! He brought me some lovely flafloos though, and I felt much better."
I suppose if you insist on me doing all the translation for you I will.
It seems that someone was too tired to have breakfast. They had a soda, because it was too early in the day for beer. Then, our narrator thought that a case of the stomach flu was coming on, but ultimately realized she had no time to be sick. Her husband brought her a lovely bouquet of flowers and everything was better.
Ok Edhatians, you tell me some of your family definitions. I'm a little lowgee right now, so I'm going to sit in the backyard and have some bug juice while I relax. Maybe later I'll ask my husband to make me a toaster cheeser, because I hate to cook.
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Nicole Freire is a freelance writer who lives in Santa Barbara.