Scratching my own funny bone for shits and giggles. Lampooning books, music and being a single woman over 40. Recording observations with an almost Seinfeldian obsession for the minutiae of life. Things can get sweary around here. You understand.

Friday, January 29, 2010

A IS FOR ADAGE

If you asked my Granny what was for tea, chances were she’d reply: ‘Beggars can’t be choosers, that’s the pot calling the kettle black, talk is cheap, two wrongs don’t make a right, you can’t have your cake and eat it too, you’re judged by the company you keep, absence makes the heart grow fonder, there are plenty more fish in the sea, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, once bitten twice shy, don’t count your chickens before they hatch, blood is thicker than water, you never miss the water until it's dry, you can’t judge a book by its cover and you cetainly can’t teach a dog new tricks!!!’ *sighs* Yeah......but what’s for tea Gran?

Her well-worn axioms would also be peppered with dubious religious phrases (Jesus Fucking Christ!) and far-fetched superstitions. Umbrellas weren't to be opened inside, black cats were to be avoided, ladders would never be walked under and bread crusts had to be eaten lest our hair went curly. I'm sure you've all been there. She was an Irish Catholic so it wasn’t surprising that she was equally invested in religion, superstition and proverbial wisdom. Considering she didn’t exactly live like a nun but still attended church on Sundays, her interest in the Big Guy in the Sky was kind of like insurance for the after-life. Hedging her bets you might say. Incidentally, Saturday afternoons with her would often involve listening to her give furtive instructions to a bookie over the telephone, tuning into the horse racing at Doomben on the wireless and then witnessing her triumphant victories expressed with reverent cries of ‘thank fucking Christ, thank the fucking Lord, you fucking beauty!’ Then she’d drink half a bottle of rum, tuck herself into bed (careful to cover all the mirrors in the house with sheets in case of lightning strikes) and rise early on Sunday to absolve her sins. Now that I think about it, I’ve never met an Irish person that wasn’t superstitious. One of my mother-in-laws was a staunch Catholic born in Belfast and had no trouble believing in astrology, numerology, reincarnation and aliens. When you consider that Christianity is based on tales of a reanimated dead guy whose followers metaphorically drank his blood and ate his flesh then I guess why not bring on the rectal probes?

Anyways, the only time I'd ever heard my family swear in front of me as a young child was when I went to visit my Gran and because it was second nature to her and never seemed to make a big deal of it I kind of innocently picked up the habit. One of my earliest memories is sitting amongst the clover patch in our back yard in Hawthorne, furiously trying to split a leaf down the centre in order to fashion a ‘lucky’ four-leaf clover and hollering ‘Jesus Fucking Christ’ over and over in manic frustration. To my Mother’s dismay, washing my mouth out with a cake of Sunlight soap only served to strengthen my resolve, in later years, to carve out a long and illustrious career in swearing for Australia.

17 comments:

drej08 said...

mmm, the old soap mouthwash, remember it from a few occasions, generally after parroting something I'd heard the old man saying earlier...

yankeedog said...

Well, for one, it's really not right for you or anyone else to be saying 'Jesus Fucking Christ'. Period. End of story.

Everyone knows it's 'Jesus H. Christ!', with the exclamation point added. One of the great mysteries of Christianity is just what exactly the H stood for. My guess would be Horace. You'd have to be great to compensate for the middle name of Horace.

Your Gram didn't use stuff like 'Were you born in a barn?', 'I brought you into this world, and I'll take you out!', or my personal favorite 'I'm going to knock you into the middle of mext week!' (Please do, because I'm having a lousy time this week).

Man, you had it good!

A funny write-up-you sure your Gram wasn't related to the late comic Dave Allen?

Natalia the Russian Spy said...

DRE: Parents...damned hypocrites the lot of them :D

YANKEE: Oh GAWD for a second there I thought you were going to chew me out :D I didn't get the barn line but the tent equivalent when you forgot to close the door...where you born in a tent? As for those others lines I first heard them when I bought a Bill Cosby tape in the early 80s and laughed myself stupid. Apparently up until he was ten years old he thought his name was 'Jesus Christ'...hehehehehe :D

Oh and Dave Allen was my idol.

YsambartCourtin said...

My dad was pretty horrified when I said "So Dave Allen drinks whiskey and tells stories FOR A JOB! That's awesome!"

Steve said...

When discussing nicknames, at the age of 4 or 5 my elder daughter thought her nickname was "Dammit."

And no, she had never seen Bill Cosby's "Himself."

Oh, and she announced this in the middle of a crowded restaurant, that went silent at the exact moment she said "Dammit."

Barnesm said...

Good to see you maintaining the fine Australian tradition of swearing a blue streak, the best recent example when Iranian navy encountered an Australian ship and were deterred by the Australian’s use of colourful idiom.

Dr Yobbo said...

I see your Gran's version of Jesus Fucking Christ wasn't on a Bike, as He is often found. He must be a Mormon.

Bangar said...

Christ on a crutch Nat (it only goes downhill from here).

Jesus fucking Christ ... you could sell tickets to that ... yes I'm going to Hell, anyone want me to save them a seat?

chazfh said...

We're all probably going to hell bangar, but at least we'll be used to the heat..oh and I've bought a nice apartment with views over the flaming lakes.

Bangar said...

Guess I'm up for the fridge then, dang those things are pricey down there. Mind you the service you get is brilliant.

Bondiboy66 said...

Ah yes, little kids swearing after they've heard Mum and Dad (especially Dad in my case)...Wife and I showed The Boy (aged four) a pic we had received of a friend's daughter with a Big Red kangaroo. The Boy instantly said 'Fucken Hell! Look at the size of that kangaroo!!" Stunned silence from Mum and Dad...'Oh...I mean... Golly Gosh look at that kangaroo!'

Good recovery son.

Simon said...

The avoidance of black cats is very telling. I was brought up to believe they were lucky, or to be more specific, it was lucky to have a black cat cross your path. And to quote from Wikipedia:

The Scottish believe that a strange black cat's arrival to the home signifies prosperity. Furthermore, it is believed that a lady who owns a black cat will have many suitors.

So there you are.

yankeedog said...

"...where you born in a tent?"

Exactly the same idiom.

I know Cosby used those phrases in his routines, but I heard them plenty around the house when I growing up.

Dave Allen was the best! I remember watching him when we first got cable. Ooooh, edgy stuff!!

Steve said...

YD, I remember (you might as well) the summer of 84, when HBO ran Bill Cosby's "Himself" routine about 3 times a day, every day, for 3 months straight. And MTV ran "Come On Eilleen" about 10 times a day.

I was told stories as a kid of one of my older brothers writing dirty words on the driveway in chalk. Dad came home from work and flipped. My brother's response was, "But dad, it's only "shit" and "fuck."

starcakeastrology.blogspot.com said...

LOL! She sounds fabulous in that cursing granny sort of way! People's contradictions make them interesting.

Flinthart said...

Swearing's great. But in English, it's usually a bit bland. A bit of creativity works wonders.

When I worked in DSS, I often found myself with my hands full, as in: working two separate files, following up an inquiry from my supervisor, and answering the phone, all at once. Inevitably, some gormless fuck who never did any goddam work in the first place (I'm looking at you, Clayton, wherever the fuck you are) would bimble on up to me and ask me for some totally fucking irrelevant favour or action.

Eventually, I worked out how to shut people like that down. I would look at them until we made eye contact, and keep staring until they shut up. Then I would say very calmly and quietly: "Go and fuck it until it bleeds."

Then I would go right back to the four other jobs I was doing.

Only had to do it a few times. Always worked a treat.

Natalia the Russian Spy said...

DIRK: Yeah swearing in German is very satisfying indeed :D Oh and I'm glad I will never have to be on the end of that look and instruction!

STARCAKE: Welcome!

STEVE: Yeah I guess those words are soft by today's standards...oh and how did you recover after the little one damned it all over the place?

YANKEE: I couldn't believe that drunkards were allowed on TV...oh so innocent I was.

SIMON: How interesting. Another example of how the Irish and the Scots are like chalk and cheese.

BONDI: Golly...gosh...that's adorable :D

CHAZ and BANG: Guess we can toss the thermal underwear in that case.

BART: You were a child before your time.

YOB: Mormons are invariably on bikes around here. Confusing.

BARNES: Those Iranians are precious little petals no?

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