Saturday, October 1, 2016

Exploring Insults and Various Threats

Readers with good short term memory will recall how I blissed out on Bill Bryson's thought-but-not-expressed remark about a surly shopkeeper, "Cheerless prick."  When was the last time you heard "cheerless"?  It seems to be used more often to describe bad weather - "A cheerless, dark afternoon typical in a New York winter" as example. 

The Brits seem to have an edge on us Yanks when it comes to the appropriate descriptive phrase.  Which thought naturally sent me scurrying around mentally (a short trip, didn't take any time at all) for comparable  brilliance from Americans.

My own creation popped up first.  Situation:  you are babysitting for dear friends. 

Problem:  the kids are misbehaving with vigor.  What can you do?  Obviously, you can't give them a fast wallop across the butt, appealing as that may be.  Parents react so hysterically! when someone else administers corporal punishment. 

This has worked for me in the past:  give the kid a stern look, slit your eyes for most impact and say, "If you don't stop that, (you don't need to spell it out) I am going to do something so terrible to you that all of your great grandchildren will be born with snow white hair."

This is so vague - yet menacing - that the kid will often stop the action to puzzle out what this could possibly be.  At which point, you suggest that "Let's all sit down and have a cookie." 

I read that "Don't you make me take off my earrings" is a classic warning from one black woman to another.  Yesterday I saw one example of why.  A trio of black women were at the next table at Eat at Joe's and one of them was wearing very solid-looking gold hoops; the diameter of which easily equaled that of a saucer.  And I understood exactly why it was said.  Great handholds for the enemy. 

I haven't had a chance to use it yet, but "You really don't want me to let the werewolf out" shows great promise.

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