Sometimes the things people say just make me laugh, even when they’re not supposed to be funny. Little sayings, phrases and words strike me as humorous, even when I’ve heard them many times before. I often wonder where they came from and who started them. I think that maybe most weren’t real words to begin with, but some guy had a senior moment, forgot the word he wanted to say and made up another word. Maybe others thought it was funny or sounded cool and started a new trend.
Here’s an example that happened last week at work. A coworker and I were looking at a problem and he was having a hard time seeing my computer screen so he told me to “scooch over”. I started laughing because I haven’t heard that word for a long time and I mentioned to him that usually older people, and usually older women, are the only people who say “scooch over”. Then as I thought about it, I realized that it actually sounded kind of rude. Say you’ve messed up something really bad and your boss is a bit agitated and wants to talk to you about it:
You: I’m sorry, I guess I missed that.
Boss: Well that little miss is going to cost us a pile of money. What were you thinking?
You: I said I’m sorry. What do you want me to do?
Boss: Scooch over!
Sounds like a profanity substitute to me. So maybe you should be a little careful if you’re someone who uses that word.
I think it ranks right up there with the quantity “a smidge”. As in, how much sugar should I put in this recipe? Oh, just a smidge. I mean, how much is that – more than a pinch or less? Should I use the measuring spoons to figure it out? Is there a conversion table somewhere (2 pinches = 1 smidge)? And that can sound a bit derogatory, too, if applied to someone. “That Sully, he’s just a little smidge.” I hope no one says that about me.
Growing up, Mom used some silly phrases, but since she always used them we didn’t think anything of it. We didn’t laugh at them either, at least not when we were really young, but maybe when we got up to our teens. I’m sure it was a huge undertaking every morning to get all of us kids out the door and off to school and do it on time. We had a routine and there wasn’t a lot of time for goofing around in the morning. However, kids being kids, there were times we just weren’t on task and had to be moved along. At those times, Mom would tell us to stop “dillydallying”. What if we were just dillying and not dallying, was that OK? Probably not. Maybe it’s a phrase that is only used in
New England because I’ve spoken to
other people from other areas of the country and they’ve never heard of it.
Nevertheless, when Mom had that tension in her voice, raised her voice and told
us to stop dillydallying, we stopped dillydallying and got moving!
Maybe we scooched over a smidge and stopped dillydallying! That is, unless we were lollygagging!