The great baseball player and Hindu philosopher, Yogi Berra, is known for his whacky word ways. He’s attributed with “It’s deja vu all over again,” “If you can’t imitate him, don’t copy him,” and “I really didn’t say everything I said.”
I married another Yogi with this talent. Though she doesn’t try to copy the original, my wife did say everything she said. Using her brand of invented “portmanteau” words and mixed metaphors, here are her classics.
K. once proclaimed she was FRENZIC, which was her way of combining FRENZY and FRENETIC.
Do you need more kick for the word TRULY? How about adding IN REALITY to form her new IN TRUALITY.
K. exclaimed, “I’m ADAMNANT about that!”, not content with merely being ADAMANT. I think having DAMN in the middle of a word always makes it better.
When fixing to fry bacon she asked, “Do we have a SKIDDLE?” You guessed it—on the fry she had combined SKILLET and GRIDDLE. Who knows why she didn’t say GRILLET instead.
“You need a THERMOMOSTAT,” she told me while feeling my forehead. I guess she wanted to measure my temperature and then reset it to a more comfortable level. I proudly replied, “I’ll have to RENUMERATE on that”, which is K.’s word for RUMINATING while ENUMERATING.
She also mixes metaphors, which is as easy as (and more fun than) shooting fish in a barrel of monkeys. In K.’s world, sometimes THINGS CAN TURN ON A NUTSHELL, which I guess is what happens if you DIDN’T FALL FAR FROM THE ACORN as she once said of me. I consider myself fortunate that I DID NOT JUST FALL OFF THE TURNIP TREE like some other bloke she described, for then I would be A WEAK LINK AND NEED TO BE PLOWED-UNDER. Her skull is lousy with farming, nut, and edible root references.
Do you want to smooth things over after an argument? In K.-speak, that’s called MENDING BRIDGES, which is much better than BURNING FENCES I suppose.
Then there was the time she advised me how I could solve my problems: “You could KILL ALL THOSE STONES AT ONE BLOW!” Yikes! It seems there’s an old German fairy tale about a tailor who’s preparing to eat some jam just as seven flies land on it, and he manages to kill them all. Right. I don’t get it either.
With my added commentary, here are some of her other misappropriated malapropisms:
WHEN YOU TOOT YOUR OWN HORN TOO MUCH, YOU GET EGG ON YOUR FACE.
The reason I don’t eat and drive.
I’M OVERSCHEDULING MY PLATE.
Slogan for Obesity Anonymous?
WE’RE LIVING ON THIN ICE HERE.
Better than walking on borrowed time.
YOU GOTTA MAKE HAY WHILE THE GETTING’S GOOD.
Then we must get while the sun shines.
IT’S BEGINNING TO GET NEAR THE EDGE OF THE VALLEY OF NO RETURN.
I’ve got nothing. Just. Nothing.
IF YOU’RE AFRAID OF DOING SOMETHING NEW, JUST GET THE VIRGIN OUT OF IT!
Why men crave newness.
WHEN IT COMES TO NOT WASTING WATER, I’M A CONVERSATIONIST.
Conserving water speaks louder than talking about it.
DON’T BE PUTTING ME IN A PEG HOLE WITH A SQUARE KNOT!
Awkward misuse of resources.
IT’S ALWAYS GOOD TO GET RID OF DEAD BAGGAGE.
Better than carrying around extra weight.
HE HAS GOOD LANGUAGE-ING SKILLS.
Yogi would agree.
BRIGHAM YOUNG WAS A PHILANDTHROPER.
As both a philanthropist and a philanderer, he could really get the virgin out of it.
WE HAVE TO LIVE OUR LIVES WHILE WE’RE ALIVE.
Or come back from the dead.
THEY GET THE BLOODY SECONDS.
Some movie theatres don’t rate the first-run slasher shows.
THAT’S NOT WORTH A POT TO PISS IN.
Even if we had one.
IT’S LIKE THE ALASKAN OUTBUSH IN HERE!
Or the Australian bushback.
I COULD HAVE GONE OFF HALF-COCKED. BY THE WAY, THAT’S NOT A EUPHEMISM; IT’S JUST AN EXPRESSION.
One man’s euphemism is another’s substitution of a more vague expression.
YOU KNOW, GOD SPEAKS IN METAPHORS, SO I’M IN LIKE FLINT.
At the end of my head, I’m still trying to get the day around that one.
I GUESS NOW YOU’RE ON THE OTHER EDGE OF YOUR COIN, WISE GUY.
Before that I was on the flip-side of my seat.
Even though I never met the great Berra, I feel like I know him well, that he speaks to me every day, and that I can’t escape his paradoxical influences. Or as K. put it, “IT’S A CATCH-22 ALL OVER AGAIN!”