Saturday, October 30, 2010

Giving credit where credit is due

I write a column for the Worcester Business Journal called Digital Diva, which focuses on new technology and how businesses can use it to make money. In my most recent contribution to the world of sparkling prose, I wrote about "chiclets," which is a term for all those tiny icons that appear on websites to link you to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. I got this column idea from Harry Gold, owner of a marketing firm called Overdrive Interactive, who spoke in Worcester about social media marketing.

Anyway, I was remiss in not mentioning in my column that one of my father's favorite words is chiclets. He uses it to describe anything that comes in a large, plentiful number. It's a fairly apt description given how chiclets are often delivered by the handful. For example, in my father's vernacular, he might describe the number of candidates for governor as being "like chiclets." Same goes for the number of Law & Order spinoffs on TV or the number of Dunkin' Donuts locations in New England.

So, it's true, my Dad invented the use of the word chiclets to refer to anything that comes in large volume. And it's also true, Dad, that everyone steals all your best ideas.

People who come into contact with my dad for the first time are often perplexed by his vocabulary. His use of idiosyncratic phrasing is unique to say the least. I've been threatening for quite some time to put together a dictionary of all my dad's favorite bizarre sayings and there's no time like the present. Here's the beginning of the Jim Hall Dictionary (please note that all phrases should be said with a strong New York accent):

Hoople - Someone who is lazy; often broadly used to describe anyone and everything.

Slew foot - Similar definition as hoople.

Matte black is flat black - Used to say that two things of different names are basically the same, so stop worrying about it.

Get it into your head - Used to imply that the listener is in fact not listening and is being resistant to an idea that is obviously correct. Common variations include "Get it into your barantasorus" and "Get it into your barantasorus rex." Origins of the latter are unclear.

I'd take a hot stove - Another of way of saying "I'm really, really hungry."

Brown shirt - A phrase used to describe people who do basic tasks, like maintenance, waiting tables, etc.

Brain damaged - This one is fairly self-explanatory. It is used in any situation where someone (including the speaker) does something stupid. Often used as an exclamation.

Fasalines - Another word for money.

Cosmoline - A filler word used when you can't think of the correct word. "Hand me the cosmoline." Origin: The brand name of a rust preventative.

Ten-cent head give changes - A phrase used to describe someone who is not that bright. Sometimes shortened to just "Ten-cent head" or just "He gives change."

Wouldn't pay a dime for an earthquake - A phrase used to describe someone who is very cheap.

Smoking in the shower - A phrase used to deride someone for being stupid. Typical construction is, "What are you smoking in the shower?!"

Here's a dime, call someone who cares - A phrase used to minimize the importance of something. Often shortened to just "Here's a dime."

Zips - See brown shirt.

If it were easy, women and children would be doing it - This one's pretty self-explanatory.

We're going to feed you peanut butter and put in the closet - A threat used against a child stemming from the recommendation of a child psychologist popular in the 70s who claimed peanut butter and low light could calm overactive children (please note that my parents never locked me in a closet).

You'll have to live with Barnaby - Also a threat used against children referring to the movie "Babes in Toyland," in which there was an evil character called Barnaby (please note that my parents never made me live with Barnaby, although they did threaten it).

Get his money - To fire someone for incompetence.

Shit sandwich - A phrase used to describe the human condition, i.e. "Life's a shit sandwich and every day you take another bite."

Tiger meat wrapped in barb wire - A phrase used to describe a model human physique, especially that of Jim Hall Sr.

Your arms are too short to box with God - A phrase that implies that you are too small and too weak to stand up to the powerful forces around you. See shit sandwich.

Prowling the world seeking the ruin of souls - A biblical phrase used to describe the travels of a modern women who goes shopping on a Saturday afternoon.

Crying and gnashing of teeth - A biblical phrase used to describe discomfort.

Magpie - A woman who talks too much.

Tainer - A container of coffee, usually purchased and digested between 10 and 11 a.m.

Touch-it attack - A compulsion to fiddle with things that you know you should not be fiddling with.

Burnt out - Someone who is old and heart lazy (see below).

Heart lazy - A phrase to describe someone, usually the speaker, who is truly at their very core extraordinarily lazy.

Gather up ye rosebuds - A phrase often used as one is leaving the house to remind people to take their stuff with them. Sometimes is shortened to just "rosebuds," meaning "stuff."

This week's winner - When someone is a loose look-a-like.

86 - A fanny pack often employed by tourists in beach locales.

The com - The remote control device used to flip channels on a television set.

Badabing - Definition unknown.

Rattatatat - Definition unknown.

Enthalpy - A scientific term used in common speech to describe the sensation of cool air on the forehead when one props up their baseball cap allowing circulation.

-----------Newly added----------------------------------------------------

Hangers-on - Poor people that ride your coat tails.

Dishes cups bowls labashe - A phrase often called out in advance of loading the dishwasher.

It's like eating a broken cookie - Translation: Stop complaining you spoiled little brat.

It was those hot dogs you ate at Hudson Park - If you complain of an upset stomach.

Was the ground cold when you got up this morning? - When someone looks like something the cat dragged in.

Did you walk to school or take your lunch? - A test to see if someone is paying attention.

Did your mother have any kids that lived? - See above.

Pretty good Po-T-Ay - A phrase used when someone does something stupid.

Greetin' Willy - A child that's always whiney (courtesy of Grandma Hall).

Oooo-fa - Said every time one plays golf. No clear meaning, but indicates a level of fatigue.

I'm shot - Usually followed by "I'm tired."

Don't feed the Verrini
- Don't get someone all jacked up.

Jacked up - Overly excited.

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