Friday, 18 November 2011

THE VEGGIE'S FULL-TIME

I’ve been thinking lately about F. R David. Remember him? Tinted sunglasses worn inside? No? Bouffant hair? No? Sounds like a girl? No? Utter twat? Yeah, yeah, you got it, that’s him. Wrote the song “Words’.  Well, the reason I’ve been thinking about him is because that plaintive opening line, “Words don’t come easy to me” - whilst not a lyric that will ever rival the expressions of youthful alienation found in the works of Kerouac, or the representations of quotidian thought found in, say, James Joyce - is nevertheless a line that could easily describe me.

You see, every day this week has brought with it a phrase or word that I have literally NEVER EVER heard before. In fact, there have been a couple of occasions when I’ve thought: I’ve probably just had a stroke and lost the capacity to understand language, forever.

Last Saturday, for instance, we took the kids to McDonalds.  (Now before some of you keel over with horror, this is NOT my normal routine. Normally, I would plate up a lovingly prepared light lunch of artisan-baked breads and antipasti, or perhaps something ridiculously rustic and thrown-together, like, you know, a homemade pizza topped with pear, prosciutto, and gorgonzola. Kids adore it don’t they…) Last Saturday, though, we were busy, and I thought, heck, what’s so wrong with eating the occasional chicken vagina, with a bucket of salt? But when we arrived at the drive-in window to collect our ‘food’, drool dripping down our chins, we were greeted with an empty-handed waitress who just twitched a little, and said, “Veggie’s full-time.”

Veggie’s full-time?

VEGGIE’S FULL-TIME????????????????????

Sorry love, but I don’t speak Wookie.

My partner looked at me, and I looked back (which is extremely rare, as we are both normally locked in our own private spheres of hell). The waitress sensed that we were struggling.  She repeated herself, this time adding the definite article, a cheeky verb phrase.

“The veggie is full-time”, she said.

Shit, I don’t mean to be rude love, but I still don’t speak Wookie.

Thankfully, my partner finally twigged. “Do you mean the veggie-burgers take longer?” he said. He is a genius, my partner. He has such a feeling for context, for the underlying structures that govern human language, he is like Chomsky, or fucking Derrida. The girl nodded. “Park b’there”, she said, twitching again, this time in the direction of the parked order bays.

It's not the first time. 

A few days earlier, I lost the rectangular ‘stick-on bit’ of my car radio/CD. I was trying to explain this to someone, when they laughed out loud and said, “Do you mean the face-off?” The face-off? ‘Face-Off’ is a film by John Woo, with Nicholas Cage, and John Travolta. You patronising asshole. Face-off is another word for a confrontation, isn’t it? It’s the beginning of a game of ice-hockey, isn’t it? ISN’T IT? But if it is the word for the rectangular stick-on bit of my car radio, then how come you know this?  And I don’t? What is wrong with me?  

What is wrong with me?  (weeps)

I blame my mother, of course. My mother replaces almost all proper nouns with the words ‘thing’, ‘thingy’ and ‘thingummyjig’. A conversation with my mother goes something like this:

Mother: Have you seen that thing I brought up with me? I hope I haven’t left it in the thing.
Me: For the love of God. 
or
Me: Do you mean your whistle? *

My father also has an interesting approach to proper nouns. He prefers metaphors that bear no resemblance to the original object. Partly, this is because he has no idea what the original object IS. Examples include ‘atomic machine’ to describe ‘microwave’, and “ludicrous new-fangled walkie-talkies’ to describe ‘mobile phones.’ In short, he lives in a parallel universe that I like to call ‘The World According to Someone Who Once Left A Big Fuck-Off Chunk of Radioactive Plutonium in their Pocket Whilst Working at a Nuclear Research Facility’.

So there you have it, I suppose.


* PS There are no sheepdogs in the family. Just my dad.


11 comments:

  1. YOU MADE ME CHOKE ON MY GIN. With laughter. I may have coughed out some gin. Which is SACRILEGE. But, I heart you, so you are forgiven.

    PS 'fucking Derrida' mahahahahahaa
    PPS Don't go to Mcdonalds.

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  2. Park b'there....you have no idea how much that made me laugh! Really laugh.
    x

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  3. Hi Auntie Venting. I have lots of gin here. Shall I send you some to compensate? Please forward me the address of your gin palace, i mean house.

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  4. Helo Beth. Glad you liked it. Next time I'll try to get in the phrase 'cowin lush' too! Draw i ddarllen dy flog di mewn munud ... x

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  5. I read this three times and each time time it got funnier and funnier. Brilliantly written post, er as usual. Okay commentary as follows ... (1) 'words don't come easy' - God awful drippy song, (2)"My partner looked at me, and I looked back (which is extremely rare, as we are both normally locked in our own private spheres of hell)." That perfectly describes my marriage ... ha ha ha ha. (3) I never knew it was called a 'face off' ??!! (4) Is your dad Homer Simpson ??? More please !!!

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  6. Ps Noam Chomsky rocks out dude.

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  7. Ta so much Older Mum! Glad you enjoyed it and also glad my blog was educational - re face off!! It's not often that I'm able to feel quite so socially useful...

    Yip, Chomsky's a riot! As for Derrida - talk about belly laughs! (I had to sit through a whole year of lectures on 'post-structuralist literary criticism', with not the foggiest idea about what the lecturer was talking about. Although in my defence, I was madly in love with the student who sat opposite me...I even took the Old Norse course because he was taking it, for godsake ... I'm such a feminist)

    x

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  8. Thanks. Put a smile on my face after another full on weekend! Although I will never be able to order a chicken burger again!

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  9. HI three little flowers. Next time you're at Maccy D's, just pretend that you're eating an eccentric Heston Blumenthal recipe as opposed to genitalia. It really helps x

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  10. haha, laughed out loud to this post, great blog! refreshing to read something funny.

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  11. Ta Katy. Glad you liked it. Off to read yours now....

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