Thursday, March 06, 2008


I had the most delightful conversation of the semantical kind with my middle daughter, Sarah, and my mother's friend, "J" (the one who is classy and beautiful, but swears like a grizzled sea merchant) tonight. It went something like this:

Telephone: Ring Ring

Me: Hello?

"J" the Grizzled Sea Merchant: Hey.

Me: Hey!

"J" the Grizzled Sea Merchant: So, I'm going to be in town Saturday morning, will call when I get settled.

Me: 'Kay.

[Delete unimportant chitchat and personal doodads]

"J" the Grizzled Sea Merchant:
Gawd, remember how thin I was? Gawdjesus, fucking hell, now I'm a goddamned dirigible!

Me: Did you just say, "dirigible"?

"J" the Grizzled Sea Merchant: Yeah, you know, a blimp?

Me: I know that! It's just that I'm a bit stunned that you used the word "dirigible." I mean, how old are you, really? Ninety-seven?

"J" the Grizzled Sea Merchant" [sputtering] Wha...? [laughs] C'mon, what's wrong with "dirigible"?

Me: Dude, if you have to ask, then it's pointless for me to carry on this line of conversation.

After I hung up, my daughter, who'd been listening, asked why I was laughing so hard, and when I explained to her that "J" was using Ancient-Speak, and with NO SHAME WHATSOEVER, she said, "Ooooh! I get it! It's like when Great Grandma Spinelli says 'Davenport' instead of 'couch,' right?"

We then proceeded to roll about the place laughing hysterically at the many examples of Ancient-Speak that have been foisted upon our modern ears by various teachers, grandparents, and an assortment of curmudgeonly neighbors, words such as:

Icebox (Ancient-Speak for refrigerator)

Duvet (Ancient-Speak for comforter)

Post (Ancient-Speak for mail, as in "I'm going to put the letter in the post before three shakes of a lamb's tail!"

(Ancient-Speak for living room)

Land Sakes!
(Ancient-Speak pertaining to great surprise or disappointment)

And on it went, until we both wept copious tears of pure, word-related joy.

Jeepers, how I love the English language!


At 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, don't you mean "we fell about the place"?

She coulda said "Zeppelin."

I love the English language!

At 10:59 AM, Blogger Ms. Lori said...

ARGH! Of course -- ZEPPELIN!

That's even better, Gerry. Much more Ancient-y.

Love, love, love it.

At 11:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I'd just go with "Zep."

At 6:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loved your post! It was the bee's knees!

Nancy aka

(as google has decided not to know who I am. after all these years!)(bastard)

At 6:22 PM, Blogger Ms. Lori said...

Nancy, you are one cool cat.

At 11:41 PM, Anonymous aphid said...

Ancientspeak should be used without shame, so long as you're not all pretentious about it like some DeviantArt goth poetry twat (I know you're not, but I joined DeviantArt recently and just looking at previews of some of the poetry made my eardrums bubble). I freely mix victorian insults with shitty grammar and god-damn slang and fucking swearing. It's fun.


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