Some Malapropisms (words what ain't used right) of Doc Stevens and Marilyn and their friends

Sunday, September 27, 2009 6:21 AM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas
One interesting and sometimes confusing aspect of being with rural uneducated people of any culture is their misuse of their own mother tongue. It is especially interesting when one is listening to someone misuse their mother tongue when it is not your own mother tongue, so you have no idea initially what they are talking about.

For example, I was visiting Doc and Marilyn and Marilyn invited me inside to have dinner with them. She said they were having "chicken popeyes." I of course thought that she must mean that they were having Popeye's Chicken (which is an American fast food chain), and that somehow Doc had found a way to get some Popeye's Chicken to their house, which is about 20 miles from the nearest Popeye's.

Instead, when we sat down to the table, Marilyn brought out three chicken POT PIES, that she had heated up in the microwave. "Chicken Popeye's." Doc asked me if Brit's ate chicken popeye's and I told him that we did but that we had another name for them.

Another time, Doc was talking about a friend of his who had just gotten another woman in his life. Doc was telling me about it, how she was a short little gal, but was "a beast." I asked what he meant by her being a beast, imagining that she had fangs, a beard, or horns protruding from her forehead. He said, "You know, Tondy. She's fat, round... o' BEAST!" "O BEAST!"

Doc's neighbor's boss, for example, holds him "a cannibal." Ernie brings tools home with him in the company provided truck. But Ernie is responsible for the tools and would have to replace them if they went missing. He is held "a cannibal" for them.

Ernie says his old lady don't speak in "contraptions." She speaks every syllable, not running words together like the rest of them.

One's monthly check comes from "socialist services" over at the "gummit" building in La Plata. LaPlata is in "Chaws Canny Merlyn," which other people refer to as Charles County, Maryland."

Of course, there is the "innerweb" on the computer where one can get e-letters, and see all the stuff out there in "cyrilspace," unless one has "doll up" in which case one cannot fully enjoy "that your-tube."

Oh well. I'm just a Brit. But none of them can figure out why someone from England is not called an "Eng."

Doc Stevens on Wealth and Covetousness:The more you have, the more you want.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009 4:02 PM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Tondeleo: Here is part of a conversation I recorded a year or so ago and never transcribed. Doc was talking about how, as people get more affluent, they tend to not be as happy and satisfied as they were when they were struggling.

Doc: "Ain't nothin' wrong with havin' stuff, Tondy. Nothin' at all. But the more a person has, the more he wants. That's a fact.

Not just the more he wants, but the more he thinks he needs. You take a man what's been broke all his life, and then he 'herits some money. Now he thinks he NEEDS things that used to he only dreamed about.

Now he NEEDS a couple of suits. He NEEDS vacations. Never had one in his life, now he NEEDS one or two a year. NEEDS a big house. NEEDS a shiny new car. NEEDS to have his kids in private school. NEEDS his old lady to quit workin' and to get her hair did every other week. And he ain't never had none of that even one day in his life before!Doc Stevens 88

Now a poor man, when he thinks about having money, dreams that he would be more happier, more relaxed if all he had was more money. He thinks he would be happier and worry less, if he had, say a million dollars.

Poor folks worry, but so do rich folks. Matter of fact, most of the bosses what I've had has been more worried about money and payin' bills than poor folks. And they worried more about the future than poor folks.

Here they are, livin' their dream with their own shop or garage, an' people workin' for them and you find them worryin' more about the customer what went to a competitor, or worryin' about how can they get a bigger shop or a newer tow truck. I mean here is a guy who ain't never had nothin', and now he's got a little bit, he starts worryin' about what he ain't got!

Then, it gets worse, Tondy. Now he is worried about havin' life insurance, and how is he gonna send his kids to college, and his retirement, of which I ain't got one, and stuff he ain't never even heard of 'til he got a little money! You cain't even imagine the things a man will worry about, once his life gets easier an' he gets a few more dollars. Ain't no limit!

Here's somethin' else what happens. Instead of gettin' along better with people, he starts gettin' pickier and pickier! He gets mad at more people an' he gets mad for stuff what don't even matter! He's fightin' for things what don't matter one bit - an' he worries himself sick over it.

Like who is gonna be the Businessman of the Year. Who cares? Or, who else is gonna be allowed to join the same country club what he belongs to now? He wouldn't a even KNOWED about a country club a few years ago! And now he's a member, an' worried that they might let in someone who ain't up to his standard!

I say it's best to keep important things important, Tondy. Like puttin' enough food on the table. Bein' a better person. Gettin' along with folks. Helpin' people out what ain't got it as good as you, and walkin' with the Lord. That's about it. The rest'll take care of itself."