Sunday afternoon the adults were on the front porch snipping, when a child screamed, “heads up.” Had Clar been standing on his soapbox, the Frisbee might have missed his feet. A better warning would have been “feet up.” With no soapbox around, he was casually sitting on a chair, riled up about grammatical abuse. Wherever he goes, words, phrases, figures of speech are being used improperly. Or should it be improperly used? He pantomimed unraveling a scroll; an indication that there was a lot that had him honked off. As far as the Frisbee incident, the child’s use of “heads up” was acceptable to Clar, but Heavens to Betsy – watch out – if he is given a “heads up.” heads up: snipping is snacking and sipping
His angst seems to be rooted in the ubiquity of people not speaking the way he wants to hear what they have to say. Like, “like, or grab, and ditto.” He’s told to grab instead of take. It is far too common to add “like” where it is not required. His explanation of how “ditto” irks him was interrupted by me thanking him for not doing bunny ears when he said “ditto.” A speaker creates “bunny ears” by placing both hands on either side of their face, using their “forefingers and middle fingers” to indicate “quotation marks” to emphasize a point. He was about to expound on “ditto” when instead he spurted, “GUYS. What is going to replace GUYS?” It seems that he and my mom had been over guys-ed the night before at a restaurant. The use of “guys” by the host, then the server, and even the busboy, soured the experience, almost enough to consider not redeeming the rest of their Groupons for the place.
We weren’t all on the same page. “On the same page” torqued him enough to make the list. How come? Also on the list. “How come” is a good one because Grandma would say how when most said what. If she didn’t hear you clearly or she didn’t understand, she’d say, “how?” How took some getting used to, but she was consistent with how instead of what, and she knew better than to ever say, “how come?” Thankfully we had to go into the house for dinner because he could have peppered us until the cows came home.
Clar – short for Clarence, is my dad, named after his dad. While grandpa had a middle name, my dad was not given one. Grandpa called Grandma Ev – short for Evelyn, while most people called her Dolly. As a tot, my cousin Jimmy, heard it differently. There was great laughter then, and it still evokes a grin, whenever someone recounts how Jimmy asked Grandpa why he called Grandma F. This is the same kibitzer responsible for squirrel cake. Grandma was cutting a cake roll filled with ice cream and referred to it as swirl cake. Again, Jimmy heard it differently and it’s been squirrel cake since.
Maybe it’s time my dad gets a middle name. Or at least a middle initial. It could be F. This would give him something to disorient a language attacker with. He could emphasize I almost wrote “overemphasize” the middle initial until the miscreant asks what the F stands for. Intent on ending the mania, he could boldly say, “Evelyn.”