Wednesday, March 4, 2009

You Didn't Hear This From ME...

(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.

19: Right?

20: At any rate, things have quieted down since her mother passed out...

21: ...and the cops hauled off the maid of honor...

22: 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!!


InkMom said...

When I went to college and told someone that something was "as big as Mrs. Greenburg" and they asked me who was Mrs. Greenburg, I was absolutely baffled because . . . I didn't know who she was and I thought that was a universal expression. Turns out, Mrs. Greenburg was my grandmother's childhood neighbor across the street, and she was so huge she was housebound. And my grandmother referred to her every time she noticed something incredibly large, be it a person or an object. Sorry, Mrs. Greenburg, that the way you have been memorialized in my family is because of your exceptionally large girth.

AS Amber said...

A ha ha ha! I knew you'd make it awesome! Well done! My family looks at me like I have lobsters crawling out of my ears (lol) when I ask for something and follow it up with the Japanese word for please. Which I will not attempt to spell.

Thanks for your support in my dieting. If I weren't "fatter than butter" (or Mrs. Greenburg) I wouldn't have to be on this insane 500 cal thing.

(Walks away...hungrily)

Momtothreebabies said...

hi, just found your blog on the poll for mormonmommyblogs, this is my first ever mormon mommy blog to visit and i was a little disturbed that the first sentence i read had a cuss word in it! is that not a cuss word to you guys? im from missouri, probably a little hick, lol, but i kind of went, whoa! although i adored the post!!! lol. have a great day and good luck in the blog of the month!

Sher said...

You kill me!
So funny!

Jessica said...

I have received the "car starting" word from my grandma and mother. I don't usually like to say the 'ol "son of a " but I like to keep it in my pocket unless the car won't start. I appreciate all that mom and grma have passed down to me..that included.

DeNae said...

Jessica, when my brother and I were little (Shane was maybe 2) my mom was late for a RS pres mtg and couldn't get the car started. Shane pulled out that car starter phrase, in all its glory. Just trying to help.

I think we all got it from Great-grandpa C. Those coal mining days left him with a rich legacy of profanity, which he passed on to my mom, your grandma (my aunt) and all the rest of us.

"Momtothreebabies" would probably be shocked at one of our family reunions, eh?

Lisa Loo said...

I find myself without any colorful hand me downs--I am deeply saddened. My Mom wouldn't even let us say dang. Once again I am the odd one out. I will just have to inherit some from you! You are my hero.

Melanie J said...

My granddad used to say (always in reference to my most obnoxious cousin), "That girl gives me such a case of of the red a**." I don't know what that means, but I kinda think I do, and he must have been pretty annoyed.

Motherboard said...

DeNae, Your blog completely makes my day! I read it usually in google reader, but I am here, laughing my guts out... and I liked it better with your "b" cuss word. You're too nice.

Becky said...

LOVE the mullet and thong comments!! Best laugh all day! Thanks.

Casey said...

I'm going to steal some of your catch phrases, they're so much more colorful than my potty mouth.

And babysitting pythons? Do you have to change their diapers? I'm in.

Lara said...

It deeply disturbs me sometimes when I open my mouth and hear my mother come out of it. And it's all the stuff that I just HATED to be told as a child. But my children need to hear it, and I don't know how to say it except the way my mom did.

And I am loving the list of things you'll never say....although I am slightly worried that somehow you actually might have had some sort of machete-cake-cutting-python-sitting scenario. Because you can't make that stuff up!

AS Amber said...

Dave, you can borrow my eye liner. I won't judge.

Devon said...

Oh DeNae, I think yours is the only site that makes me literally laugh out loud. You kill me. said...

Here's the most colorful phrase that my Grandma used to say: He's as sick as a dog.

I hope no one found that offensive.

Hel said...

Ah Denae, my liberal mouth got me into trouble when I was last visiting the in-laws. My mother has the least potty mouth of all her family but has been known to drop the odd cuss word here and there.

So when my MIL was trying to explain how AWFUL a woman was that we had both met, I blurted out "It's simple, she's just a B*#@%" The realisation that her precious grand-daughter was going to be listening to this sort of filth was stricken across her face.

My favourite mum cuss "Poop and Bum". I've been saying it a lot lately.

R Max said...

Tell me, how do you stay so funny? Is it something you eat? Is it in the water?

Arliss said...

All I can say is "lawsey".

Anonymous said...

I just want to leave a comment to Momofthreebabies. Are you freakin' serious!!!! It's the self-rightous Mormon moms like you that make the world think WE (Mormons) think we're perfect. People, EVEN Mormons have the right to express themselves any way they want. I'm willing to bet that you don't have any room to cast that first stone. Granted, you too have the right to express yourself. In this case just get over it!!!!

Shawn said...

Cracks me up about the bad word issue.

I am LDS and we all know that I let them fly once in a while....DANG IT!

Are you kidding me? Not bad at all.

Anonymous said...

I vote NO to censorship! A vocabulary free of "swears" does NOT equate someone of high moral character (whatever that means). Just because someone may season their language with a few well placed expletives, does not mean they are morally inferior to someone who chooses differently. I once heard a general authority swear in a priesthood leadership meeting and it was perfectly appropriate. It was funny as hell too!

SCP said...

for the record. i didn't get away with stealing gas in cedar city. and i didn't get away with the bomb threat. but most of all i absolutley without a doubt did not get away with...... oh wait i did get away with that one!

Bebe said...

Very funny! Love the blog! I'll be back for more.