The 1775 Restoration comedy, The Rivals, by Richard Sheridan introduced the humorous character, Mrs. Malaprop. Her name comes from the French mal à propos, which means inappropriate. A malapropism is defined as an absurd or humorous misuse of a word, especially by confusion with one of similar sound.
Mrs. Malaprop had nothing on my old buddy Ron. Many years ago Ron and I worked for the same company. Ron was an enthusiastic if slightly grammar-challenged salesman. Just like the kids in the Art Linkletter show, he would say the darndest things. Here are some samples.
At a sales review meeting, Ron was describing the recent flare up at one account and stated “that’s when the shit hit the fur.” Ron tried to explain that this saying was an old hunting term. I guess the hunters substituted fur for fans.
We were given a class on investments. A company representative came around to explain stock options and how the options vested. To which Ron asked “What’s the vestation period?” Best answer? Somewhere between ovulation and the maturity date.
One time he told a customer that “the only thing you’ve changed is two things.”
Another time he told a customer that he had “beaten a dead horse to death.”
Living between ages – after The Stone Age but before The Digital Age – I wrote these sayings down in longhand and tacked the page of sayings on the wall of my office. Ron came into my office one day, looked at the list and claimed that he did not say these things. I told him that it was not possible to make them up.
Regrettably, I lost the list long ago and rely upon my (most faulty) memory for the few that remain. However, I’m sure you have a friend or relative like my old buddy Ron who is filled with strange sayings. I would be curious to hear what they have said.
Thank you for the giggle. Love Ron!
Thank you. He really existed and was a most enthusiastic fellow.
Well, said. (Something you can’t say to Ron! ) All joy in laughing at ourselves first and then others, too. HF
Thanks. I always felt that I was laughing with Ron, not at him. I lost touch with Ron many decades ago. If he happend to read my post, I’m sure that he would still argue that each saying was legitimate.
No, he would argue that each one was illegitimate! Do you see what I did there. Huh? Huh? Clever, right? Give me something Mr. Curmudgeon! Hope your garden is growing and that mother’s day was not too hard on you. HF
Well played, HF, well played.
“The shit hit the fur” – I’m still laughing. Malapropisms should definitely be nipped in the butt…
… or else they’ll get you in the end.
Haha! I love it… this one cracked me up the most I think: “the only thing you’ve changed is two things.” I feel like writing these on student papers that I grade just to confuse them all.
How I wish that I had kept that stone tablet on which I chiseled Ron’s other sayings.
You should know that I struggle with dyslexia so I can definitely relate to your friend, Ron. While reading those ‘Ron-isms’ I laughed and cringed, knowing that I’ve butchered more than a few phrases in my day. Naturally I can’t think of any off the top of my head, probably because they’re so embarrassing that my sub-conscious has blocked them for my own protection. Should something surface I’ll be sure to report back. I always enjoy entertaining people with my idiocy.
My buddy Ron was full of energy and totally oblivious to his grammar goof ups. You notice that I made no mention of my own semantic slip ups (“3 am in the morning” is one).
Haha! You’re lucky to have me as a cyber friend. I had to read it a few times to figure out what the slip up was. I never would have detected it. : )