20
Apr
08

The brother who speaks my language

It doesn’t matter how many months – or, lately, years – it’s been since I’ve seen my older brother Gordon, we always greet each other the same way.

One of us will say, “Hi, how the fuck are ya?”

The other will say, “fucking great, man” and we’ll give each other a bear hug.

Then we’ll step back and the next thing one of us will say is Well. That was never five minutes just now.

Anyone witnessing this or any other exchange between the two of us could be excused for thinking we’re more than just a little bit daft, because if each of us has his own particular set of quirks and foibles, stir Gordon and me together for a while and a whole lifetime of slang, sayings, even our own rhythm and cadence kicks in, and nobody else really gets it.

One of the main things we get into is adding the suffix -age onto everything. Length, for example, becomes footage. So to ask, “how far is it to…” we would ask, what’s the footage to get to….

It can sometimes get to ridiculous extremes. Damn, I’m hungry. I need some foodage, and maybe some drinkage too, at which point we silently call a truceage and cut out the crappage before we drive each other around the bendage.

Perhaps not surprisingly, a lot of it stems from late-1960s to mid-70s pop culture and television, which coincides from the time Dad bought our first TV ’til Gordon left home to go to university.

If someone’s having trouble opening something, we’ll say really fast just jiggle it a little, it’ll open. Try it. Justjiggleitalittleit’llopen. It’s from an episode of I Love Lucy.

Greetings can also be Hey Goob or Hey Goobah, which comes from Gomer Pyle, USMC. From goober we get goobernatorial, a play on the real word gubernatorial, which as Canadians we always found should refer to something stupid anyway. How goobernatorial is that?

If we’re playing a game and it’s the other’s move, we’ll say itchy goom, something our Dad mis-heard when we were telling him we were watching the TV game show It’s Your Move.

Have some crispy french fries, cousin Cesspool is a set phrase we throw in when offering any type of food to the other. It comes from a misunderstood TV commercial for Crisco Oil.

If we see or hear something stupid, idiotic or just a little weird, one of us will say eww, ginchy. Ginch is a derivation of that classic Canadian slang term for underwear gaunch.

To ask the time we’ll say time diddehhh? - drawing out the second syllable for some reason. We can also ask the time in French, but instead of the simple Quelle heure est-il? we’ll say Quelle heure est-il maintenant ou pas? adding the nonsensical now or not? at the end.

We also invert many things so that they sound French, but aren’t. A CD player will be a player de CD, a paper bag a bag de paper, a hockey stick a stick de hockey and so on.

To say excuse me we say Scoozay-mwah, see-voo-play, that is all my French to-day.

To offer milk to the other we say Would you like some Millek with your Fillem? I was the one who introduced that, because I had a teacher in Grades 6 and 7 who used to prononce film as the two-syllable affectation fill-em.

A helicopter is not a helicopter, it’s a hobbidy-cobbidy, a knife is not a knife, it’s a kaniffy, McDonald’s isn’t McDonalds it’s Flap-doodles but the latter is more Gord’s and I just adopted it.

If you noticed the Monty Python reference in That was never five minutes just now, that’s just scratching the surface. We both know the entire repertoire inside-out, dragging up snippets of skits and sometimes whole monologues to fit various situations. If death comes up on the panel the high point of the Dead Parrot sketch will be played out, if one of us says Could be the other will say, Could be, could be taken on a holiday, and any reference to Christian religious ritual one of us will start reciting the monologue of how the Lord sent an Angel to comfort Victor for the weekend, and entered they together, the jacuzzi.

Here endeth the lesson.

Well, not quite. Because if all this stuff and nonsense has you thinking we do it because we have nothing at all to talk about and it’s just filling dead air, that’s not it. We know how much is too much, had tons to discuss and argue over and contemplate and laugh about, and had been doing for an entire week despite my being ill for half of it, before he left yesterday for London and then home.

Dammit Gord, great funnage. Sorry I was such a wreckage when you got here. See you this fallage.

© 2008 lettershometoyou


15 Responses to “The brother who speaks my language”


  1. April 20, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    Ian, your shared language, a web of remembrances and sitcoms, is perfectly touchingly wonderful. I tried to clue into your references; was mostly successful, but not all. The Monty Python was my family’s language as well.

    When I moved to Germany 25 years ago, my brother used to send over mix music cassettes. All the songs were inter-dispersed with Monty Python skits. Eventually, he just would mix in intro sentences (e.g. the cheese shop bell), which was more than enough. I once called my father in the middle of a business meeting and he answered yes, no, yes for about five minutes, at which time he looked at the bottom of his shoe and said “size 91/2″. He and I thought it hilarious. He said the businessmen at the meeting looked puzzled.

  2. April 21, 2008 at 2:02 am

    Super fun. My sisters and I also have our own language. Our includes a lot of body language and communicating by how we shake our feet.

  3. April 21, 2008 at 9:01 am

    SBW – what a howl! You talk with your feet? I’d love to see that in action. :-)

    lilalia: Shoes? Say. No. More!

  4. 4 alwaysthatgirl
    April 21, 2008 at 11:54 am

    Ian: Made me laugh!! I forgot about my ginch being in a knot for a second there. Thanks. :-) Glad to see your feeling better and over you sniffy snot drippings and coughage. Take Care.

  5. April 21, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    atg – you sure could use a few yucks right now, eh? Glad to be a provider. :-)

  6. April 26, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    Ian, you have reminded me of absent Anglo Canadian / Saxon friends. The picture is a telling story, and the drinkage looks superb! A lovely blog! BB. Hey, and thanks for your support. You were one of the first people, and a Canadian at that, to read and comment on my blog and I have discovered many of my regular visits through your blogroll – the best remedy I have found for absent friends. Cheers!

  7. April 27, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    Beaverboosh, my northern neighbour: I’m honoured to have been one of your blogs trail-blazers! BTW, if you are in the mood for some Anglo Canadian / Saxon elbow-rubbing in late September, we can nominate you and your wife as honorary whiney expats of Germany and invite you to partake of our annual merry shin-dig and weekend fest in a city of yet to be determined location. I would enjoy. :-)

  8. May 3, 2008 at 8:20 am

    Ian that is very kind of you, we would be honourd. Pass on the dates asap as our annual calander is always difficult. We will do our best to make it! Many thanks. BB

  9. May 3, 2008 at 10:42 am

    Looks like things might get blog meetup busy – I’m seriously considering a trip to Sevilla to meet azahar for her do – also perhaps in late September.

  10. May 8, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    This was some exceptionally entertaining Bloggage!

  11. May 8, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    Catherine, thank-you – and if you’re up4more, drop by again! :-)


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