Friday, May 12, 2006

"Oh, So That's What That Means": a Cap'n Neurotic Cheat Sheet

Last Sunday night Scuba-girl invited several of the Singles over to her place for dinner after Papa Lightbulb's ordination (yes, he's now the Right Reverend Lightbulb); after dinner we were playing Six Card Golf and someone flipped over their last cards, zeroing out their score, prompting me to exclaim "Nothing! Absolutely nothing!"; in response to the blank stares I merely said "If Zinger were here he'd have gotten that."

You see, one of the hurdles of having so many different groups to hang out with (outside of the logistics of finding time to hang out with them all) is keeping track of what references are applicable for what group, made all the more frustrating at the times when a comment springs to mind, only to die before passing my lips because it dawns on me that it's a Book Monkey comment, and would be lost on The Singles, or vice versa. And then there are those times like Sunday, when the comments slip out anyway, and I get a blank stare from my audience. In an effort to forestall (or at least reduce) these blank stares, I’ve decided to expound upon some of the inside jokes, catch-phrases, running gags, and such that fill my fevered brain. As usual, we'll be starting out chronologically with the Wyandotte years.

There's a ton of jokes and references from my youth that litter my mind; I can't hear Kumbaya without also hearing Frost-E-Frost singing "Someone's burning lord, Flaming Joe"; nor can I see Jasmine Guy without hearing Diva exclaim, in her best Whitley impression, "He invaded my boudoir!" I also still get the first seven lines of "The Stone" stuck in my head every so often, but rarely is it applicable to any given situation. But while these are triggered semi-regularly, there are many others which are more likely to escape my lips.

The mind wobbles. This quote came from one of the first episodes of Married With Children I ever saw when dim-bulb Kelly, confronted with some "astounding" fact, mangles the phrase "The mind boggles." It amused me then, and it amuses me still: I still use this phrase in everyday conversation.

Right, Timmy. Many moons ago there was a TV commercial about microwaveable brownies which included an exchange between two brothers: "Right, Timmy?" "Right, Bobby!" The over-the-top acting of the pair struck a chord with my mom and me, and she would often ask for confirmation on something by asking "Right, Timmy?" However, over time the phrase mutated in its tone, and she began to use it in response to students who she felt were being less than truthful, so that "Right, Timmy" became more of an "Oh, whatever."

I'm feeling much better now. This one comes from John Astin's recurring character on Night Court who would inform people that he had been in a psychiatric hospital but was feeling much better now in a voice that belied the point; think my mom still uses this one a lot.

It burns, it burns! Don't recall exactly why he started it, but one of my former classmates used to say this all the time in his best psychopathic voice, and now, so do I.

"Hey, you; I know you, I know you." My high school years were a prime time for the Not Ready for Prime Time Players, and references to the latest Saturday Night Live skits peppered our discussions: Wayne's World, Toonces the Driving Cat, Chicago Super-Fans, Happy Fun Ball, etc. But one of the most frequently quoted bits came from an SNL anniversary special which replayed the "men's synchronized swimming" skit. This special came out around the time that our school had a student-run closed-circuit morning show, and for a long period of time the opening to the show was comprised of clips from the special; lord knows how many times I sat through the swimmers or the "chopping broccoli" song that year. Anyway, out of the swimming skit came two oft-repeated catch-phrases, of which this line from choreographer Corky St. Clair is the first; it was usually used as a greeting of sorts.

"I'm not . . . I'm not that -- strong a swimmer." I find myself quoting Martin Short's line from the same skit anytime the possibility of going to a pool, waterpark, etc. comes up. Both of these gained prominence during my time in competitive speech, which was a breeding ground for these obscure references, many of which were pilfered from the pieces we performed

"I know that sounds simple and stupid, and maybe I am." Diva and I have already discussed the way that lines from her DD from Steel Magnolias have permanently bonded to our brains, and this is one of the two that come to my mind the most often. Self-deprecation, you are my friend.

"I'm fine, I'm fine! I could jog to Texas and back, but my daughter can't! She never could!"
Not a lot of chances to use this one in everyday conversation, yet still, it lives in my head. On a related note, one thing I always enjoyed was going up to somebody who was freaking out, offering them a cup and saying in a heavy drawl "Drink your juice, Shelby."

"Are you mockin' me, Mr. Finch? Makin' fun of me? Ah don't have to take yo' sass, Ah ain't called upon to take it!" Another speech quote, this is from a DD I did from To Kill a Mockingbird: I seldom get out the whole thing, but will often respond to jokes at my expense with at least the first (heavily drawled) sentence or so.

"'Tis a pity" this comes from when we were having to go through collections of skits to find stuff to add to our speech files, and someone came across a scene from the play 'Tis Pity She's a Whore; this title of course struck us as scandalous, and soon became a sort of short-hand insult.

" . . . Compleatly out of character. An early one that was oft-used, but whose exact origins are fuzzy; I know it was a mocking of a phrase used by someone from another school, with the mockery enhanced by the mimicry of the original performer’s delivery of his phrase about people "doing things compleatly out of character." Without context I doubt it will do much for you (heck, it barely does anything for me, nowadays), but at the time it struck us all as so funny that I put it in the introduction to an HD (an introduction that I quickly composed the morning of the competition); of course, when I did the intro, all of the Wyandotte kids in the audience cracked up, while everyone else just gave us blank looks . . . an early example of the "know your audience" principle . . . a principle that would have served me well this past Sunday, huh?

This concludes the first phase of the Cap’n Neurotic cheat sheet; I’m sure there are many more remnants of my younger years that inform my behavior of today, but the preceding were the ones which sprang to mind the easiest; if anything else resurfaces, I’ll be sure to make a note of it for future posts. In the meantime, I’ll be compiling my list of similar turns of phrase that come from my time with the Parkerites.

This could take a while.


The Photographer said...

I feel that I missed out on a ton of fun by not being in speech. Sounds like you all had a blast.

Zinger said...

Wendy and I were at Central Market the other day in the seafood section. They had a whole red snapper in the case. You know exactly what I said about that.

Cap'n Neurotic said...

Photog: I had a good time in Band and TSA, but Speech was my favorite extracurricular, partially because people in Speech tended to have interests and senses of humor closer to mine, and partially because it didn't have that strange uperclassman-attrition that plagued Band, causing it to be 80% 7th and 8th graders.

Zinger: Yes; yes I do.

Redneck Diva said...

I have just about worn that tape of the SNL anniversary show out! It hardly rewinds anymore.

Just last week Tater and I found each other in a store and shouted out, "Hey! You! I know you! I know you!" The kids all ran and hid in embarrassment.

Now I know why I loved Speech so much - I knew it would come in handy when I had children and wanted to embarrass them. Like this last weekend when I began clogging in the lobby of the Dixie Stampede. Abby looked like she wanted to die. I just laaaaaaaaaughed.

Cap'n Neurotic said...

See, it does my heart good to know that I'm not the only one still fixated on the "Hey you" thing; glad to see you and Tater keeping it alive.

Stacie said...

I still use "I'm feeling much better now". I'm wondering if your Mom ever used "Right, Timmy" on me. I'll have to think about that.

Cap'n Neurotic said...

Howdy, Stacie, long time no see.

I think that the "Right, Timmy" thing started when I was in mom's class my Freshman or Sophomore year, so you were probably having oodles of fun in Mrs. S.'s class by then ;)