My Father’s Weird Vocabulary Is Now Mine!

Today I had a major epiphany about my father. In this case, it was about his bizarre vocabulary. He would say things like, “I’ll have a glass of rock pee,” when we all knew he meant water. I used to think he was either daft or just trying to get a rise out of us. After today, I think that neither was the case.

As I grow older, I develop more patience for other people but less for myself. Come on, Boutwell! You know better! When I was younger, the reverse was true. This was especially true when I spoke. If I stumbled over a word, or outright forgot it, I’d pause until I remembered it. Now, I just spew the first word that comes to mind. Why? I’d rather look crazy than stupid!

Here is the story of me explaining my small errand to get various items for Trish, who has a head cold today. The words in parentheses are the ones I meant to say:

“I spent $30 over at Scarlet Pimpernel’s (Brookshire’s). Then, I drove down to Frostproof (Paradise Liquor Store), because you aren’t the only one who has a sore throat now. They were out of pints of Kentucky Deluxe, and I’ll be hanged if I spend $15 for a pint of Captain Billy’s Whiz Bang (Jim Beam), so I saved money by buying a fifth of Vermilion Coyote (Old Crow).”

I just didn’t feel like pausing long enough to remember Brookshire’s, Paradise Liquor, Jim Beam, or Old Crow. Some of the words that shot out of my mouth make sense. Well, sorta. Frostproof is a town in Florida, at the edge of the citrus belt. It was always way over yonder. Paradise is on the county line, and Texas counties are big. So, Paradise is way over yonder. I guess my brain, in trying to say Old Crow, knew there was an animal in the name somewhere. But Captain Billy’s Whiz Bang? Why did my brain reach back to 1984, and a vague line in “The Music Man” to come up with that, instead of trying to process Jim Beam? Whoever wired my brain was drunk on the shift that day!

After telling Trish all that, and watching her not quite split her sides laughing at me, I realized that I sounded just like Dad. He probably did the same exact thing. He would have rather looked crazy, or at least full of it, than stupid. So, I reckon the apple not only did not roll very far from the tree, it rooted in its shadow and took over when the original was felled.

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