By now you’re probably all familiar with my tendency to misread words. But if you’re relatively new to my blog, you may not have read about the fact that I also tend to misspeak – often with embarrassing results.
A while ago I was getting ready to buy groceries in preparation for houseguests, and I called to ask what type of milk I should buy. When informed that 1% was the concentration of choice, I blurted out, “Oh, that’s new. Phill and Michael were always the homo guys.”
For the record, they’re both confirmed heterosexuals. And I think I’ll say ‘whole homogenized milk’ instead of ‘homo’ from now on.
Some time later, I was enthusing to my friends about the Calgary International Blues Festival. I go just about every year to soak up the sunshine, beer, and blues music. It’s a long day outdoors and if one remains properly hydrated (or beer-drated, as the case may be), nature calls frequently.
If you attend by yourself, you have to decide whether to temporarily abandon your stuff while you sneak off to pee, or else haul everything with you into the cramped and increasingly icky porta-potties. In music-festival euphoria, most people choose to trust their neighbours.
Last year, a photographer sat near me. When he asked, I cheerfully agreed to watch over his camera gear while he did what needed to be done. After a long day and multiple trips, he charmingly bought me a CD in thanks for my onerous duties.
Expounding to my audience at the pub later, I summed up the preceding paragraphs as follows: “He asked me to watch his equipment while he peed”.
After a couple of beats of silence followed by uproarious laughter, one of my smartass friends asked, “Did you hold it for him, too? No wonder he bought you a CD.”
I’m not the only one in the family with linguistic (or lingual) issues. A couple of days ago, my sister and I were talking about her upcoming budget presentation at the Christian radio station where she works. And this came out of her mouth: “…that may vary depending on what the fucktuations…”
We both burst out laughing.
And I told her, “If you try to discuss income fluctuations in your meeting, you’re either going to say ‘what the fucktuations’ or you’re going to start giggling uncontrollably. Either way you’re doomed.”
My sister also coined one of my favourite non-words: ‘depissitate’. She was describing miserable rainy weather that was starting to clear, and her tongue got tangled between ‘precipitate’ and ‘dissipate’. And the phrase ‘It’s starting to depissitate’ was born: The perfect way to describe a sleety rain shower.
It’s nice to know that she and I share the same language difficulties. Or, as she once accidentally said when describing a different trait that runs in the family (I can’t even remember what the trait was now)… “It’s a genital thing.”
To this day, the word ‘congenital’ makes me snicker. And I never use it. ‘Cause I know if I do, it’ll come out as ‘genital’.
I’m just not a cunning linguist.
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Many thanks to my good-natured sister and the radio station where she works for giving me permission to publish this. As she said herself, ‘what the fucktuations’ was just too good not to share.