(Thanks, Amber, for the blogging idea!)
Recently a dear friend from college found me on Facebook. (I think I'm getting a testimony of Facebook. Dang! I totally didn't want Facebook to be true!)
Anyway, in our catching up she asked if I still say, "Hell's bells and great small fish!"
The answer, of course, is that I say it all the time. Just like my mother used to say. Still says, when the circumstances call for it. There are times, in fact, when nothing short of "Hell's bells and great small fish" could adequately convey our feelings. And what are we supposed to say instead? "Drat"? Please. Not even close.
Members of my family also have been known to say, "Well, doesn't that just frost your gizzard?" Well, doesn't it? If you are so frosted that the frost makes it clear to your gizzard, well, then, you're very, very frosted. I know I've been that frosted. And I appreciate that my heritage includes the appropriate verbiage to quantify that state of extreme frostedness.
Despite all our determination to do otherwise, every one of us eventually starts saying things we picked up from our moms. The first time it happens, it takes us by surprise. We're not really sure how we feel about having just uttered the phrase, "Are your legs painted on?" So we write it off as a fluke.
But then we hear, "Why can't you just apply yourself?" fly out of our mouths, and we have to accept the inevitable. The torch has been passed. We have seen our mothers, and she is us. (We? I've never been able to get the grammar right on that one.)
This is especially fun when I hear my grandmother, who will be 95 this year, saying things my mother has said my whole life. Things that I've said a million times, thinking this was how the whole world talks.
And then the next chapter opens, and our KIDS start speaking like the rest of the clan. To the last detail.
Now, every mother has experienced - or will, if all my birthday wishes come true - the sheer horror of her child freely and at high decibels repeating something they learned at home. My sister Jill's firstborn would wait until the middle of sacrament meeting to share with the rest of the ward his brief but concise vocabulary list of 'words starting with SH--'.
Let me tell you, there is just no way to un-ring that bell.
So eventually, you learn to watch what you say, because, while your kids' ability to forget things like curfews and laundry instructions is so finely tuned it frequently loops back on the space-time continuum and causes them to forget things you haven't even said yet, they will retain on a fundamentally genetic level every embarrassing word and phrase that passes your lips.
What follows, then, are a few things that my children will never, ever hear me say, if for no other reason than I am not interested in hearing them hollered out from the gallery at my Supreme Court confirmation hearing.
1: I'd go with the mullet.
2: Try the unfiltered ones.
3: Sometimes you just gotta show a cop who's boss.
4: Of course you can borrow my eyeliner, son.
5: You can't go wrong with a Speedo.
6: The problem, as I see it, is you don't text nearly enough.
7: He doesn't need a job, as long as he makes you happy.
8: For my money, there just aren't enough movies where young black men dress up as old black women.
9: Insurance is for suckers.
10: Have you considered professional cheerleading?
11: Now THAT is a comfortable looking thong.
12: Sure I'll babysit your pythons!
13: Nothing classes up a conversation like a healthy sprinkling of the "F" word.
14: I'm sure her first two husbands were just paranoid.
15: And so was her shrink.
16: And her parole officer.
17: And that exorcist.
18: I mean, a lot of people cut wedding cake with a machete.
20: At any rate, things have quieted down since her mother passed out...
21: ...and the cops hauled off the maid of honor...
22: ...so I guess I'll just head on home, spruce up the guest room, and feed the bride's pit bulls, because...
23: ...when the honeymoon's over, the happy couple is moving in with us.
Moving in with us?? Pit bulls?? Machetes??
Hell's bells and great small fish!!