Sunday Stealing: Fashion Asks
Shitty Shoppers

Family Lingo


My Pop had his own creative names for things.

For example, he had a gardening tool that he called a "hooka-hooka." This tool was simply a hoe without a blade. The hook that the blade was attached to remained. Pop realized that the hook was ideal for precise weeding around his tomatoes and beans, so a broken hoe became a valuable hooka-hooka.

He didn't like being late. If you were dragging your feet and making him wait, you were officially the "cow's tail." If an outing grew from a simple ride somewhere to a complicated trip with multiple stops and people, it became a "Sadie Hawkins Day," never mind the fact that Sadie Hawkins Day originally had a very different meaning.

If you tried to get our of school by pretending to be sick, you had one of three diseases: "fakeitis," "mocus in the crud," or "mopery dopery in an attempt to gawk." Imagine my surprise when I found out that "mopery with intent to gawk" was actual cop slang! I have a feeling the "mocus" was Pop's term for mucus, and "the crud" turns out to be slang for a bad cold or respiratory infection.

Pop also quoted movies - I grew up thinking he made these phrases up! He used to give out a certain reward quite often: two pats on the head. Straight As on a report card? Two pats on the head. Mowed the lawn? Two pats on the head. Won a prize? Two pats on the head. It turns out that he stole this directly from W.C. Fields. Fields had a bit part in an obscure movie called Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch.

Which, by the way, was every movie we ever saw. Every time we went to the movies, Pop would say, "Going to see Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch?" When I was 18, this movie played on the Late Show on TV. I was surprised because I'd always thought Pop made it up. So he and I stayed up late to watch it. And when W.C. Fields said to a kid, "Permit me to give you two pats on the head," my jaw dropped to the ground and Pop cracked up.

I think this tendency to steal quotes is hereditary. When SonnyeBoy was about nine, we were going somewhere and Joe popped The Firesign Theater's Don't Crush That Dwarf; Hand Me the Pliers into the tape player. After the first side of the album, SonnyeBoy said, "I thought you guys made that up!"