Some of you are aware that I have a certain affection for a damned Yankee and regularly immerse myself in travels to the great north for an infusion of ummm..Northern hospitality (yeah, we’ll go with that for now). I realize that male/female interactions in and of themselves can be a bit of a challenge under the best of circumstances..throw in a few regional and cultural differences and it’s not only like we are from Mars and Venus, but from different galaxies altogether. (mine, of COURSE, being the totally normal, sane universe and his being full of nuts, but I digress)
Now, while I can be and often am, an intellectual snot in regard to grammar or in my manner of speech, there are times..albeit few and far between..when my Southern roots and upbringing take over. (I know, it’s a great shock…stick with me on this) It seems that when I get excited, agitated or irritated, I can become a tiny bit regional in the way I express myself. Apparently during these times, I might have an itty bitty tendency to utter a phrase or two that those living above the Mason Dixon line do not employ in their day-to-day communications.
I know, I know!! It’s hard to imagine, but amazingly true. Different areas of the country have trouble understanding the true meaning behind some of our more beloved Southern phrases. Personally, I think we are simply a descriptive, imaginative group of people who just choose to use particularly apt colorful words to express ourselves on occasion. I just don’t see where the confusion comes from. In my eyes, we’re very easy to understand! Fiddle-dee-dee!
I always know that I’ve managed to befuddle the poor man and crossed the communication great divide when I hear a silence on the other end of the phone line, or when I’ve sent a text message and finally get a reply questioning my sanity. Of course, to be fair, he tends to question my sanity with frequent regularity even when I’m making perfect sense. If I’m being totally honest, I will admit that at times (not often, mind you), when I’m visiting New York and Connecticut..I “might” turn on my Southerness a bit more, just for effect. I can’t help it, Yankees are so much fun to play with. It becomes almost a challenge to take some of the stoic out of those that need a stick-ectomy (for those of you that can’t figure that one out, it encompasses taking the stick out of one’s butt and learning to laugh at one’s self rather than being so serious all the time). Besides, I’m constantly fielding requests when there to just “say something” so they can hear my “cute little accent”. So, being the polite compliant belle I am..I oblige them in my own sweet little innocent way! Bless their hearts.
So, I send a perfectly innocent little text message to the Connecticut Yankee..something along the lines of..
” I swanny (and yes that actually IS a word, albeit a Southern one, you Yankee smartass..she says with great affection) I am going to have to kill you yet..wink”
Okay, that isn’t along the lines of, that IS the actual text message. There is silence for about 5 minutes, then I get this in return from said Yankee..
“What the HELL kind of word is that??”
I then had to send the definition of the word “swanny”, using it in what I thought was a great sentence that entailed describing a certain body part that can be truthfully declared as something I find VERY appealing. For those of you that don’t know, the definition of swanny is to declare, affirm or swear something. I’ll let y’all use your massive imaginations to fill in the blanks about the actual content of my text or to construct your own sentences…I don’t text and tell.
It must take very little to amuse me, because I was literally laughing out loud (and not in an emoticon type of way), but rather in a manner that made everyone on the train from the airport look at me like I had lost my mind. I hate to tell them, but I misplaced any sanity I had a long, LONG time ago and have found I don’t miss my mind at all anymore. I’m better off without it and fixin’ to get even more outrageous with age. I want to be a “character” when I grow up. (i.e.-“She’s a real character, isn’t she?”)
Now I ask you…if you heard these phrases, wouldn’t they bring to mind a picture that is MUCH more descriptive and easy to understand than conventional speech? Here is just a small sampling of a few things you might hear come from a Southerners mouth…
“she was as ugly as the backside of a barn”… or
“you look like you’ve been ridden hard and put up wet”…
“It smells like something done crawled up here and died!” or
“that girl needs some meat on her bones, bless her heart”…
“we’re smack dab in the middle of something good”
“That’s about as useful as a trap door on a canoe!”
“You look about as happy as a tick on a fat dog.”
“He’s busier than a one-legged man at a butt kickin’ contest!”
“Don’t you piss on my leg and tell me it’s rainin’!”
“Excuses are like backsides. Everybody’s got one and they all stink.”
“You could start an argument in an empty house.”
“That boy’s more slippery than snot on a glass doorknob”
“If his brains were dynamite, he couldn’t blow his nose”
“You could start an argument in an empty house.”
I know, by now you’re all fit to be tied and bless your hearts, probably in a tizzy..but butter my buns and call me a biscuit..I just don’t think this is such a conundrum. Dang, most of you are as wild as all get out and this ain’t your first rodeo..so go with the flow and get yourself all gussied up. Good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise, tomorrow is another day.
Don’t go throwing a hissy fit, it’s not worth getting in a pickle over! Daggumit, Lawd have mercy! Goodness gracious and shoot fire, it ain’t nothing that can’t be fixed with a glass of sweet tea…join me on the porch and we’ll mull it over. Butter would melt in my mouth when I set my mind to somethin’!
Have a good ‘un and y’all come back to see us, you hear?
Now I ask you…HOW simple is that?? It’s JUST plain boring English after all! Feel free to use any of the above “Southern-isms”. Don’t mind the occasional strange looks that might follow, they’re just jealous they aren’t so inventive and descriptive!
Tongue in cheek Disclaimer: No one living above the Mason Dixon line was targeted or harmed in the writing of this bit of fluff andit is all in fun. I happen to absolutely adore and delight in the differences of personality that all the regions in our country produce. It’s a small part of what makes life an interesting adventure.
(For the record, this particular bit of writing seemed to send spell check into a tizzy of its own, apparently IT doesn’t speak plain, simple English either!!)