Not Thick, just Less Able…

When we were young judgemental kids growing up we were always cheerily quick to point out someone else’s inability to do or understand something we found relatively easy, and as kids do, we would scornfully label them as being ‘thick’.

Mum always remonstrated with us not to be so hurtful with regard to the inabilities of others, and that if someone was struggling with something it’s not nice to call them ‘thick’, as it’s not their fault they were simply ‘less able’ than others. We had it frequently drummed into us – it’s not ‘thick’, it’s ‘less able’…

So of course me and my sister and brother took this edict as gospel and ran with it in the extreme, having ‘less able’ soup with a ‘less able’ slice of bread and the like, driving mum nuts with our complete exclusion of the word ‘thick’ from our childhood vocabulary in all contexts, regardless…

Even now, in our late fifties, any one of us can still break into a childish grin with a wicked glint in our eye at the mere mention of ‘less able’ foodstuffs… 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: A phrase you grew up with

Fuch-sia not Fus-chia

I can’t ever seem to spell fuchsia – to me it should be fuschia, and so I have to look it up every time, even to write this post! However as I was typing out the header just now I realised one way I might possibly remember the correct spelling into the future – if I say to myself ‘It’s fuch-sia, for fuck-sake!’ I might start to get it right more often… 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

Adequate

Hmmm… Is this an adequate response to a word prompt?

These days ‘adequate’ seems to be one of those ‘meh’ words like ‘average’ that on the surface sounds perfectly ok but in everyday use gives an undercurrent impression of inadequacy? Since when did ‘good enough’ become not good enough? I mean, we can’t all be better than everyone else all the time – surely the law of averages requires that most people sit within a middle ground of averageness, with a few bounding ahead and a few stragglers lagging behind?

Or is that just my inherent feeling of inadequacy talking?

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Adequate

Such Egregious Condescension

‘Egregious’ is one of those old words that has had an apparent shift in meaning over the centuries, nowadays taking on a decidedly negative connotation in place of its more positive beginnings. Whereas it used to mean extraordinary in a good way, it is now used to mean extraordinarily bad. Very confusing. Another word that always flummoxed me when it came to understanding the correct connotation for the time is ‘condescension’.

In Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’, the obsequious clergyman Mr Collins revels in the condescension he receives from Lady Catherine de Bourgh – he considers it a great honour that she condescends to favour him with any particular attention at all. I suppose in such a world where strict social class and hierarchy and knowing your place meant everything, it would presumably have been considered a real feather in your cap (which you would definitely remember to doff graciously) to be patronised in such a way by someone of such high social status?

Nowadays, in a world where we like to think we espouse social equality, lording such a blatant sense of superiority over someone is considered to be an egregious mistake, in very poor taste. And so today’s negative connotation of being shown a patronising condescension by someone as something to be aggrieved over rather than pleased about has slowly developed over time, replacing Mr Collins’ attitude of grateful simpering servitude.

It would seem that ‘egregious’ has followed the same fate, and perhaps for very similar reasons, namely the demise and derision of such strict social status and previously revered hierarchy throughout the whole population 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Egregious

Gobbledygook Take II

I just remembered a funny conversation that took place years ago, while I worked as a Floor Manager at McDonald’s – I was going round the customer seating area with the Lobby Hostess, and we were discussing toilet checks. She said she’d swept the floors and wiped down the hand dryers, and I reminded her (trying to be tactful in a public area where people were eating and we were going to be overheard) not to forget to check the porcelain was clean too. She stopped in her tracks, a lovely Glaswegian lass with a strong voice that belied her petite constitution and said ‘Whit? Aw aye, right – yous want me tae check the chanty’s nae boggin’!’ I guess from her perspective, my attempt at being discreet about a clean toilet bowl was nothing short of gobbledygook! 🙂

Something to Chew Over…

Actions to do with eating and digesting seem to occur quite often as metaphors in the English language. We swallow down our disappointments, get our teeth into difficult tasks, find we can’t stomach distasteful things, are sick of other things, digest information and are accused of having verbal diarrhoea if we talk too much. Something to chew over on a Saturday morning… 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Chew/ Choo

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Rhymes with Rosy

I was born along the North East coast of Scotland, in a world where the Doric dialect was spoken. My mum went to a posh school in Aberdeen so always spoke ‘proper’ English, but my dad went to an ordinary secondary school and spoke mainly Doric – in fact, at 83, he still speaks Doric with family and fellow Aberdonians, but has since tempered his everyday accent to be better understood in the Inverness area he has lived in for the last 50 years or so.

Anyway, the point of the little family history lesson is that I mainly associate hearing an abundance of beautifully descriptive Doric with my early childhood memories, and oh, the wonderful words I miss these days! Because as well as the accent affecting how many easily distinguishable English words are spoken, at times Doric seems to have a completely different vocabulary all of its own. For example, I remember very rounded old ladies always wanting to give you a ‘bosie’ – the kind of cuddle that hugs you tight to their bosom (which presumably is where the word originated).

Other great Doric words I remember from childhood include ‘oxters’ for armpits, and all the Doric men I knew would be wearing a ‘sark’ and a ‘semmit’ – a shirt and a vest – and of course their work trousers would all be held up with ‘galluses’ – braces (suspenders). To be ‘drookit’ is to be soaked through and ‘clarty’ is dirty (I was a real tomboy, and if there was water or mud nearby I’d inevitably fall in, so remember hearing those particular words with regularity).

To ‘birl’ (rhymes with girl) is to spin around really fast (usually until you get dizzy) and to ‘dirl’ is to vibrate – like when you get a ‘skelp’ across the ‘lug’ (a smack on the ear) it gives you a ‘right dirl’. Not to be confused with the love-it-or-hate-it ‘skirl’ of the bagpipes though! If you’re ‘scunnered’ you’re fed up, and if you ‘canna thole’ something you can’t tolerate it, and to be ‘fair tricket’ is to be delighted. Hmmm… Probably best to stop there before I get myself into a right ‘bourach’ (or mess!).

So there we are, that was my random, rambling Stream of Consciousness Saturday post brought to you today by ‘bosie’, my slightly off-the-wall word that rhymes beautifully with rosy 🙂