Malapropisms and Other Verbal Fuck-Ups

Mouth-to-mouth resuffocation
Parapalegal
Macho Peacho
Man’s Laughter (as in second-degree murder)
Askanazi Jews
JRR Tollking
Nostradamnedus
Chupacubana
Saks Watch
Bipedaphile
Add Hominy
Delicate Intestines
Sunny Muslims
Econumist
Statuary Rape
Orc Chasms
Homogenius
Fragrant Fowls
Analwrecksya (makes you skinny and you walk with a limp)
Pubic Television
Prostrate Cancer
Tequila Mockingbird

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Formulas for Funny and Insults for the Ages

I invented a new saying I’m hoping will catch on:

“Yeah, but what are your real problems?”

The normal context for such a remark would be when someone is complaining at length about something. And that happens a lot!

Unfortunately, this might be a bit too insulting for use outside of the northeastern United States, LA, and Israel. Those smarmy Canadians and Midwesterners will never take to it.

But I know it’s mine because I googled “but what are your real problems” in quotation marks and got zero results. Now if you google it you will get this page and this page alone. That means I own it.

The reason I’m hoping it will catch on is because—I don’t know, really, I guess just to invent something and have some credit with myself—to hear me come back to me on the lips of someone else and be able to say to myself that was me.

Because there have been all sorts of “formula jokes” in wide circulation over the years, changing with the times:

  • “Oh, it’s one of those.”

This was a joking rejoinder used in the 80s when someone was describing something weird as if it were more normal or typical than it really was. (And being normal was important back in the 80s.) E.g.:

“She was like this Valley girl chess champion on steroids.”

“Oh, one of those.

This is the ironic strategy of over-agreeing. As if: not only do I understand what you’re describing, I even know of this entirely improbable category of things just like it.

Later on, in the 90’s, there developed a much more concise form of humorous over-agreement, but it really only works well with a thick Italian-American accent. Someone says something improbable, unfeasible, self-defeating, or obviously inaccurate, so you reply in an overly agreeable tone (preferably with a guido accent):

“Yeah, huh!?”

From the mouth of a qualified guido it can be pretty funny.

  • “—from Hell.”

This was such a formula joke back in the 80’s that the demographic computers which wrote the scripts for the TV show thirtysomething even picked up on it. I think the line was something like: “It’s the latest Yuppie marketing strategy from Hell.”

And no, there was no intended irony there. Demographic computers couldn’t do that back then, only real writers, which thirtysomething lacked.

Unfortunately, this trend of using demographic computers as “creative” writers has continued apace since the hellish days of thirtysomething. All of the jokes in the GEICO television ads, for instance, are generated by computers trying to replicate the “typical” things that “typical” people say when they’re trying to be funny or responding to something funny:

“Yeah, I guess I walked right into that one…” or “…I get the gist.” etc.

  • “Is that a cry for help?”

As we moved out of the selfish 80’s into the touchy-feely 90’s, this line became a new formula for humorous disparagement. So for example:

“Is that a garage sale or a cry for help?”

Or someone does something strange and you say:

“Well, we all have our ways of crying for help.”

This suited the 90s better than the harsher put-downs of the 80s (e.g. “You’re hurting!”) because, while disparaging, at least it purports to be empathetic and with a mind towards “therapy,” however sardonic the intentions.

So it’s in that same vein that my new formula put-down (“But what are your real problems?”) carries itself:

You’re trying to help and to listen (snicker) but at the same time you’re insultingly implying that the listener is a fucking mess and that the things they’re complaining about are just tip-of-the-iceberg indications of some much deeper problems.

Concise insults like that deserve wide circulation. Now go use it to put down your friends. Use it before GEICO grabs it and wears it out.

Words and Phrases I’d Like to See Less Of

Game-changer:  Life is no game and games that don’t change aren’t any fun and aren’t really games.

Closure:  According to my Oxford Universal Dictionary from 1955, psychological closure did not exist back then. No one had it. Now suddenly no one can live without it. I need some closure on “closure.”

Empowering:  In a social setting, “power” means power over other people. One cannot have power in a social sense without some poor chump losing power. The Tennessee Value Authority, the Rural Electrification Program–now that was empowering!

Sea-change:  Other than pollution from human beings, the sea never changes; it’s always the same every time I look. It’s a biological fact that evolution occurs much slower in the ocean than on land. Witness the horseshoe crab–you couldn’t get away with that kind of static bullshit on land.

Cutting edge:  With so many people claiming to be cutting edge, it’s amazing the whole universe hasn’t been shredded yet.

Alpha male:  What’s wrong with the old-fashioned term “asshole?”

Climate change:  Let’s go back to “global warming” because that’s what it is and to hell with all the anti-intellectual stooges and the moneyed interests who have confused them with bullshit.

Medical science:  They’re just guessing and they’ve been guessing wrong for millennia.

Personal validation:  I wouldn’t mind this phrase if I were given a large red stamp that read “IN-VALID!” that I could stamp across the foreheads of the world’s six billion assholes.

Make love:  I prefer fucking. And when we fight or when you claim you have a headache, are we “making hate?”

Girl power:  See above comments on “empowering.”  Also, if we just got rid of all the “alpha males” (Pol Pot-style) everything would be all right, including gender relations.

Words and Phrases I’m Glad Are Dying:

Black-on-black crime:  What about White-on-Indian crime? Oh okay, that’s just American History. Or what about Jew-on-Jew lawsuits–now there’s a rampant problem!

War on terror:  This might be okay if we also had a war on anxiety and a war on boredom. Because I’m never terrified but I’m frequently anxious and bored. Even after 9-11 I wasn’t terrified.  And by 10-11 of the same year I was bored with the whole thing and very anxious about where our country was headed.

Family values:  Instead, let’s have “single guy values” and “pussy-whipped values.”  I’d also advocate for having “single woman values” but unfortunately all they seem to value is starting a family. What’s a “pussy-whipped value?” Well, for one, being so terrorized by terrorism that you’re willing to give up all your freedoms and privacy. Or hearing on the intercom that your commuter train will be delayed by five minutes and immediately getting on your cellphone to tell your spouse that “Honey, I’m going to be five minutes late.” Or take modern country music written by men–in the old days, it was all about fucking and fighting and gambling and rambling, but now it’s all about “Honey, I bought you these flowers to show you how sorry I am…”  Yeah, you’re sorry all right: Whip-crack!

The Importance of Pronunciation

Some people say “Latino,” while others say:  “Latin No!!!

Similarly, some people say “Latina,” while others say:  “Latin Nahhh.”

Some call it “Manhattan,” while others call it:  “Man Hatin’.”

And just just because all New Yorkers are misanthropes doesn’t make it right. Anyway, they have to be misanthropes–they’re surrounded by New Yorkers.

And be careful–there’s a big difference between “Can you not see?” and “Ken, you Nazi!”

And just because all people named Ken are secret Nazis doesn’t make it right–you can still get successfully sued for libel (see Kenneth Goebbels vs. Shitfer Brains, 2nd Federal Court, 3rd District, volume 3: 31-45).

Speaking of Naziism, be careful when you address Adele Fitler–she’s very touchy about her name, almost as touchy as when Sanford & Son’s Demond Wilson walked off the set of Hollywood Squares after some old white bitty called him “Demon(d).”

Other names requiring extra careful pronunciation:

Ray Cist
Taurus A. Newhole
Gaven Head
Goldie Showers
Benedictus Raw
Issa Futtup
Murr Dürer  (don’t call him Murray–he hates that name!)
Juanita Oilchange
Ken Formist
Ham R. Roid
Sy Phyllis Burns
Maria Rendhertz
Bridgette Riverkwai
Ward Tuyermother
Betty Didder / Ida Donner / Willy Duer
Meso Hahney

And, most important of all (because this could get you killed in many parts of the world):   Mohammed Iznada Proffitt

Having Said That

I checked the Bible, the Bhagavad-Gita and the Koran, and God never uses the expression “Having said that.”

Why everyone else seems to be saying it is one of the mysteries of existence.

Cima_da_Conegliano,_God_the_Father_JokeIt’s hard to think of any great statements from history that would be improved by adding on a “Having said that,”:

MLK-having-said-that-jokeIf “having said that” does not improve any statement, why is everyone having said it?

And if “Not having said that,” makes no sense, what are we really saying by its opposite?

If it means anything, it’s a backtrack phrase, really–a slight retreat on one front so as to consolidate the overall import of the statement.

On the other hand, there’s a guido TV weatherman in Orlando who uses “having said that” as a verbal segue bridging tonight’s lows and tomorrow’s highs with the seven day forecast. No semantic content at all: “Having said that, I now say this.”

I suspect that the phrase in question makes people feel important or authoritative when they say it, and that’s part of its recent popularity. As if: I’m so important and informative even the modulations of my opinions are worth discussion.Nathan.Hale-Having_said-that_joke

Solution to Your Writer’s Block: Shut the Fuck Up!

“When I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed…[because]… I don’t have to prove that I am creative.”
–The Talking Heads (David Byrne) from the songs Psycho Killer and Artists Only

A fan of this blog sent a note saying they were glad that I am “writing again.”

Thanks Mom, but in fact, I am not “writing again.”  If you don’t see anything posted here, it’s because I have nothing to say–period.

And I refuse to force it–no muse, no news.  Why force uninspired verbiage on a world drowning in wasted words?

The biggest mistake is to think of yourself “as a writer” because that inevitably leads to the mistaken notion that “Shit, I’m a writer–I need to write something.”

Wrong!

Rather, there are people with something to say some of the time, and there are people who never have anything to say publicly, and the former is not any better than the latter, and no one–no one!–ever has something worth publicizing all the time.

If you have to force yourself to write something, imagine how excruciating it’s going to be for us to have to read it!  And think of all the genuinely inspired writing that you could be drowning out by forcing your uninspired verbiage upon us.

So think of writer’s block as a muse of its own, a muse that inspires us to shut the fuck up.

Profanities vs. Too Many Profanities vs. Too Many Anything

No one wants to hear the word “fuckin” all the time, but then again I don’t want to hear any word all the time. You keep using the word “liquefy” in casual conversation and I’m going to quickly get sick of it and wonder what’s with all this liquefying bullshit?

I guess the only words we don’t mind hearing all the time is “the” and “a.”

And “and.”

But that’s it—ok, and “that.”

But we certainly don’t want to hear “but” too much. You can get fired for saying “but” all the time; you can lose friends by always being the “but” guy—no one wants to always hear the potential problems highlighted before anything’s ever given a chance.

Even an innocuous little helper word like “which” cannot be said too frequently or else people think that you’re confused or that you think in run-on sentences—which never come to a definite conclusion—which you need to do in order to let other people talk—which is the whole point of conversation—which

I can’t take him anymore—he’s become so over-modified.”

In Guantanamo, one interrogator was able to break many prisoners by constantly using words like “penetrate” in his conversations with detainees:

No! Please don’t send me back to the ‘penetrate’ guy—I can’t take it anymore! Osama’s in Abbottobad! ….Abbottobad!…Yes, that’s a real place.. No, I don’t know how you would penetrate the security there—aagghhhh!

Fortunately, using too many innuendo-words during an interrogation is against the Geneva Conventions: captured soldiers should never have to suffer the way civilian women sometimes must.

So other than “a” and “the” no word is worth repeating all the time.

Not even “fucking.”

And if you do repeat certain words—any words—people will psychologize you. And you don’t want that!

Soon there will be an app that will instantly psychologize other people’s speech patterns.

Therefore, you will need to get the other app which warns you in advance when your own speech is starting to form patterns with unwanted implications.

Naturally, when kids get hold of their parents’ devices they test it out for themselves in their own way:

Hey computer, who the fuck are you to analyze my speech and tell me how to fuckin’ talk, huh?

Computer app: “Are you trying to sound drunk? Otherwise, your speech sounds angry. Desist using ‘fuck.’

Kids: “Desist this, fool!

Computer app: “Confrontational tone projected. Avoid confrontational perjoratives like ‘fool.Also, the whole ‘blank-this’ format is generally rude.”

Sasquatch Slang Encounters

Overheard at the poker tables recently:
“Dude, this flop is squatchy!

Overheard at the bar:
“Oh God, this place is getting too squatchy, let’s leave…”

Overheard on the commuter train:
“Once you get beyond three layers of shell companies, it gets a little squatchy.”

So I guess in poker, “squatchy” refers to situations that look hairy and full of potential monsters. Makes sense.

As for the ladies at the bar, “squatchy” seems to indicate too many old, hairy, marginal characters hoping for a paranormal encounter with regular night-lifers. And that too makes sense given that I was standing right next to them.

In business, “squatchy” seems to mean murky, quasi-mythical, and potentially troubling. Sort of like “Byzantine” but with an added dimension of monstrousness and hairiness. Again, very apt.

Funny that such a useful adjective could be derived from a noun that might not exist.  Language is just so squatchy.

So squatchy, in fact, that we can easily envision other potential usages:

“She totally squatched the conversation.”

“He squatched around the northwest for a while before making his fortune in New York.”

“Put it in the squatch file.”

“Stop squatching, start living!”

Right now, none of these expressions means anything, but it just sounds so good, one day it’s got to mean something.

© The Squatch

The Real Meaning Behind the Things They Say

They say power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, meaning the purely good can never accomplish anything since they have no power.  Those do-nothings you despise might actually be saints.

They say the past is a foreign country because the future will always be American.

They say you only live once and most of them are dead–anything to prove a point, I guess.

They say history is written by the victors–Victor Borge, Victor Hugo, Victor Mature, Victor Kiam. Case closed.

They say it’s just a coincidence that my social security number equals the population of China in 1970, but I mean what are the odds of that?!

They say pets are more sensitive to spiritual entities that we can’t see, and that’s why my cat hisses at the unplugged vacuum cleaner every time he walks by it. Yes, it’s a Dust Devil.

They say you only live once and yet the same people keep popping up at different times and places.  I know I’ve seen that dude before! You’re all the same!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words because a thousand words ain’t worth shit. Check the latest commodity prices if you don’t believe me. And when you factor in inflation, words actually cost you–they have negative value.  Dump them if you can.

Most people say beauty comes from inside, but most surgeons don’t.

They say the early bird gets the worm, meaning the real winners are the late worms. Given enough evolutionary time, you’ll be lucky to get a worm to show up for anything.

Speaking of time, they say it heals everything only because the lack of time never healed anything. Not a fair contest.

They say a rolling stone gathers no moss but what’s wrong with moss?  I’ve never heard “We had to rush him to the hospital after he contracted moss” or “Tell your doctor if you’ve been rolling in moss lately” or “Avoid exposure to sunlight, cool breezes, and moss.” Moss is harmless, soft, and pretty!  What a rolling stone does gather are the blood stains of the creatures it runs over. Moss is better.

Alan Brech 2012