Saturday, September 29, 2007

Parental Proverbs

I've been thinking about some of the more colorful words of wisdom I picked up from my parents when I was a child. Where do parents get material like this? Who comes up with this stuff?

Mom made childhood interesting with a repertoire of bizarre similes: "Slicker than snot on a doorknob"..."Off like a dirty shirt"..."Drop you like a sack of potatoes"..."Making out like a bandit"...

Dad had memorable ways of driving home a point. When I performed in school below my potential: "Use your brains for something besides fertilizer for hair." When I was depressed by peer pressure: "If everyone says you're a tree, does that make you a tree? If everyone jumps off a bridge, do you have to jump too?" When I demanded something he couldn't afford to get for me: "Want in one hand, $#@% in the other, and see which fills up fastest." And when he wanted to stress the importance of prompt obedience: "When I say $#@%, you ask: 'What color?'"

Mom also had a quiverful of eccentric ways to steer me away from bad behavior. To warn me not to get in the way of trucks and heavy equipment: "There won't be anything left of you but a grease spot on the ground." To admonish me about bad habits: "It's all fun until one day you wake up dead."

Dad, with the instincts of a standup comic, has a witty retort for every occasion and a goofball name for almost everything. He calls the cordless phone "the port-a-potty." The HVAC in his home is known as "the bug sucker." Scalloped potatoes and ham have become "funeral food." When one of our apartments had a room whose purpose could not be guessed, he dubbed it "the torture chamber." When someone said or did something stupid, he quipped, "Let me guess: you just washed your brain and you can't do a thing with it." One of my long-time friends frequently reminds me of the time he greeted my Dad with the words, "You're back," and Dad replied, "My front too."

I could add more, and probably will as time goes on. There are some I can't share in public, but they're at least as funny. So once more you see where I get it all from...

1 comment:

Cuda said...

The saying was given to me by my father,

If I say "S&@%" you squat, grunt, and ask "What Color?"