July 17, 2010

"I was nearly 30 before I realized that my parents had been talking a Wodehousian language during my youth..."

"... and that normal people didn't refer to each other as 'old bean' or 'the mammal' or share a refreshing snort before dinner."

23 comments:

David said...

I'm still not sure he gets the idea of a refreshing snort with the mammal. Kids just don't want to see their parents that way.

traditionalguy said...

Language skills are fun to learn. We do crossword puzzles as a brain exercise. The re-prints books from the 1970s are full of popular culture that has disappeared. But the hardest part is not understanding the clue's meaning. One last night said "to hide" and we finally gave up...in the back the word skin.

Michael said...

On our trips to the beach 15 or so years ago my then young son sang along to a Grateful Dead tune, Casey Jones. "Riding that train IdaBoCaine" is what he sang and to this day we sing the verse in that way whenever we hear the song.

EDH said...

In a world where endless Hollywood remakes demonstrate a bankruptcy of creativity...

Elmer Fudd in the role made famous by Patrick Swayze.

Wodehouse!

"Alwight, alweady, you thought I'd be wigger."

(Yea, I know, it's actually pronouced wʊdhaʊs.)

edutcher said...

Reminiscent of the old FedEx ad.

Sad to say, there are a lot more people who would have to have that piece fully explained to them than there were 40 or 50 years ago.

PS When I saw it was your son's blog,I was already to give you a "And, you, a law professor" :)

reader_iam said...

One of my all time favorite stories on my little brother (who now of course is way taller than I, in his mid-40s and the father of three) was when, at about the age my son is now (10), piped up during the middle of a conversation he was eavesdropping on with the immortal line:

"Wait! I thought pervert was a spice."

It turned out he had somehow confused that with the word "paprika," only God knows how.

Man, I didn't let him forget that one for, oh, a good 15 years or so. Priceless.

I haven't thought about that one in many, many years. Heheheheheeheheh. Think I'll go give him a call--it's been a while.

And come to think of it, his eldest is old enough to get the joke...

[Reaching for cell phone with eeeevil grin amidst raucous big-sisterly cackles.]

reader_iam said...

Man, oh, man. This post has made my day!!!

: )

Got my brother's voicemail. But those of you guys who have eeevil big sisters know how persistent we can be when motivated.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Imagine my disappointment when I learned that the quote was from a Metafilter reader and not JAC, and that there is thereore no reason to believe that Meadhouse Hall contains a valet who gives you a rummy sort of look if you buy a dress that clashes with your vortex thingummy.

ken in sc said...

I was in my 40s and had a masters degree before I learned that 'epitome' was not pronounced the way it is spelled.

Skyler said...

I was in my mid thirties before I got the knock knock joke with the oranges and bananas. I thought the choice of fruit was arbitrary. I thought the supposed humor was solely in the exasperating joke finally coming to an end. It never occurred to me that "orange" was the same as "aren't ya."

But then, I lack the humor gene.

And I have no idea what wodehousian language is.

jamboree said...

When I was 18 and at a good university, I thought "enveloped" was pronounced "envelope" - d. I had never said it out loud before.

I still use the subjunctive - "If I were" instead of "If I was", but realize no one else does anymore - that I am an anachronism. I am incapable of not using it, however.

I have difficulty saying "he's taller than me" in public because I can hear my mother correcting me in my head to "he's taller than I", so I end up saying "he's taller than I am" as a compromise.

I can't put a period within parenthetical quotes at the end of the sentence in the "American style." because it would be so, so wrong in programming, so I use the "British style".

Each and every time I do this I am aware that some grammar pedant will think I don't know any better, but again, I cannot make myself do it the correct American way.

jamboree said...

Addendum - and I can't say "He is taller than I" in public because it sounds too pretentious.

From Inwood said...

Is it snobbish to feel that people ought to understand

Dreyfus invented the Jacuzzi

or

The happy Spanish hooker: Putana Happy Face.?

Or do people expect me to be a pompous ass all the time?

former pompous ass

Penny said...

I happened to catch this fantastic Ask Me thread at Metafilter, and since have been keeping my eyes and ears open for more.

My favorite so far...

A lawyer on TV as a panel analyst talking about Thighland. (Thailand)

paul a'barge said...

What a delicious pleasure that one's spawn has a great sense of humor. Kudos!

Lucien said...

You could read and listen an awful lot and still not be able to tell how Taliaferro and St. John are pronounced - or that Voila! Voila! is not the name of a town in Washington. (Do you suppose that French databases have elision fields? (Or would that be a record?))

Dreyfus did not invent the Jacuzzi -- that was Zola (Z-O-L-A Zola, Zo-Zo-Zo-Zo ...)

Finally, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" does not include the line "The girl with colitis goes by".

Ralph L said...

It was funny thinking of a young Althouse calling her husband "Old Bean" and having a snort.

I didn't realize Lahoya was the same town as La Jolla until I went to work for a company headquartered there; this long after having lived in Coronado and Orange County for 3rd grade.

I still have to think about "hyperbole" when I read it.

Lucien said...

Imagine if you went through life letting Schenectady represent the entire state of New York.

bagoh20 said...

I was nearly 30 before I realized it's not that old.

chuck b. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Class factotum said...

My English prof kept referring to this "Gerta" guy but never mentioned "Go-eethee."

I didn't know that calling a spade a spade was an ethnic insult. I thought it had to do with playing cards.

reader_iam said...

Class factotum: Assuming you're not being ironic or sarcastic, that's not correct regarding "calling a spade a spade."

Of all things, the phrase's origin lies with a mistake Erasmus made, and the saying has not to do with people of whatever race.

See here.

Thus ends obscure etymological lesson of the day.

: )

jaltcoh said...

I have difficulty saying "he's taller than me" in public because I can hear my mother correcting me in my head to "he's taller than I", so I end up saying "he's taller than I am" as a compromise.

I do this too. However, according to the Washington Post copyeditor Bill Walsh, "taller than me" is correct if you consider "than" to be a preposition rather than a conjunction. That way, there's no implied verb "am." "Me" is simply the object of the preposition "than." Here's a usage note on the topic, which says that "such respected authors as Shakespeare, Johnson, Swift, Scott, and Faulkner" have used "than" as a preposition ("taller than me").