Newport Blend

I was in Newport, Rhode Island, with my family for three days attending my son’s hockey tournament, right after Christmas.  While I was down there, I prepared this potpourri of unrelated pieces (a “Newport Blend”, if you will) because I had the urge to publish, but never did.  The mini-essays have nothing to do with the tournament itself.

Those post-Christmas youth hockey tournaments are quite the experience, though, in and of themselves.  Someday, if I don’t have something else to write about, I’ll write a book on that topic.

In the meantime, I offer:

1.  The Handwriting On The Wall, Part 2:

As I’ve mentioned before in this blog, I am fascinated by graffiti and public scribblings of all sorts.  I saw this written on the wall of a public bathroom stall in Newport, RI:

“Here I sit, healed of heart.
Actually shat and then did fart.
Used to come here to get high,
but now that’s in the days gone by.

It feels so good to now be free.
I really feel that God loves me.

And I, He.

I mean, Him.”

I guess God loves good grammar, and will not compromise for the sake of a rhyme.  Amen!

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2.  Oh P’shaw

I often wonder about the derivations of English words and phrases.  (Note to self:  you really must pick up where you left off several years ago reading “The Mother Tongue” by Bill Bryson.  I don’t remember why you put that book down, but it answered so many of those word- and phrase-derivation questions you had before you even knew you had them.)

Anyway, I was pondering the phrase, “Oh, p’shaw!” the other day.  A long-ago friend and I used to have lots of little private jokes (many of them originating from her; she had a quiet, wry, lovable sense of humor not unlike Bob Newhart’s).  One of the sayings was “Oh, p’shaw!”   I don’t remember how we started saying that, but I suspect my friend originally was the one to start imitating someone.  She also had this wonderful line, which I think she got from her dad, that you’d say in an old country bumpkin voice when you’d pull into a stranger’s driveway to turn around your car: “Put your pants on George, we got company!!”  I still sometimes shout out that phrase when I turn the car around like that, and guess what, my kid is probably gonna say that around his kids.  Assuming they still have cars and driveways at that point.  And my kid thinks it’s hilarious; he even says it himself.  Now that’s a phrase with staying power.

But where did “Oh, p’shaw” come from, anyway?  I visualize a bunch of drunk hillbillies (is that redundant?), and someone trying to say, “For Christ’s Sake, Shut Up”.  But, it comes out “p’shaw”.  See the connection?  I thought so.  If not, have a sip of moonshine.

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3.   The Current Ballsiness of European Sovereignty

Right now, the various European countries within the EU are all struggling to maintain their respective identities as they attempt to work together to regain economic equanimity.  It’s amusing to see how they all display their different national personalities, making various claims about why a particular policy may or may not work for them.  (Where is Colin Quinn when you need him to serve as hilarious narrator for all of this, a la his brilliant Broadway show, “Long Story Short”?)

I am ready for the next preposterous European claim to try to restore some sort of past magnificence and monetary superiority…..the next thing you know, the Portuguese will be laying claim to the “Brazilian Wax”….for whatever they hope to achieve by that!   And they ain’t doing it over on the mainland, I can assure you of that.  I honeymooned on the Algarve (the southern, Atlantic coast of Portugal) sixteen years ago, and saw enough on the beach to convince me Rapunzel (who, contrary to the fairy tale, could be Portuguese instead of German) is alive and doing very, very well.  You can tell by her glossy, hirsute coat.

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4.  Medical Appointment Blues

Why is it that when you have a medical appointment you suddenly and urgently need, like having a painful hangnail removed, they put you off for weeks?  So you just say, “f@ck it, forget it, I’ll live with it.”  And you don’t make the appointment.

Yet, when you have something you’d really like to put off, they’re ready for you right away.  “Yes, Mrs. Rapoza, we can schedule that colonoscopy first thing in the morning!”  (Got laxative?)  (Just the thought of the procedure is a laxative, actually.)

My friend had scheduled her first colonoscopy at age 50 last year.  But she forgot to go, and they somehow forgot to remind her, so it just never happened.  You might say it slipped through the crack(s).

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