Monday, October 15, 2007


Most of you know me only through the internet, so you're not privy to the way I speak in daily conversation. Suffice it to say, it tends to be colorful. Below are some of my signature phrases, and their etymology:

"Sweet Sassy Molassey" - Though this phrase actually goes back decades in some regions, I started using it after a classic SNL skit featuring Ray Romano. It's usually used in exasperation, such as "Sweet Sassy Molassey, this is the longest DMV line I've ever seen!" I've found it to be a help, as it keeps me from swearing like a sailor.

"I'm going to beat his ass for him" - I tend to say stuff like this a lot, and I think I got it from listening to my dad spout such things as a kid. The main difference is that, aside from one fiasco at a ballpark that involved my entire family (a column on that someday, I'm sure), my dad never made good on his threats, whereas I don't say it if I'm not ready to back it up. Lea refers to such utterances as me "using the language of violence." I'm glad she hasn't been around anytime I've ever had to use the "interpretive dance of violence." Back to the matter at hand, though, it's an interesting phrase, isn't it? I mean, "beat his ass" speaks for itself, at least as far as intent, but "for him" really makes it fascinating. He wanted to beat his own ass, but was incapable? "Your honor, I invoke the good samaritan statute; I was just trying to be neighborly!"

"Criminy" (or sometimes, "Criminently") - Wizard Magazine referred to me as "an amiable midwestern type who is still comfortable using words like 'gosh' and 'golly'" and they were about half-right. My vocabulary fluctuates between sounding like a regular on Leave It to Beaver and Andrew Dice Clay on a drinking Swearville. Occasionally I'll even spout comic book-ism that you'll never hear anywhere else, like Robby Reed's catch-phrase "Sockamagee!"

"Truth be told" - I tend to preface a lot of my statements with this. I don't know where it came from, but I guess I use it because I believe in telling the truth (although I still tell the truth even when I don't start a sentence with "truth be told").

"Pinkboy" - A term of derision that I borrowed from Mystery Science Theater 3000. I tend to use it to refer to people with little testicular fortitude. I think some people mistakenly assume it has some negative connotation related to gay men or straight women. Nothing of the kind. Most "pinkboys" are straight, and women can be "pinkboys" too.

"Castrati" - Similar to "pinkboy," but more of a general, pluralized usage. To me, far too many folks these days are castrati. They're afraid to get involved, afraid to take a stand, and they'll buy into whatever their "guru" tells them, whether it's a celebrity, a political party, a self-help methodology, etc. Again, castrati can apply to either sex, because they lack a figurative organ.

"Whoopty-freakin-do" - Pretty much speaks for itself. It's about my only concession to the "break up a word with 'freakin'" phenomenon.

"He's carrying a twelve dollar grudge in a three dollar hat" - I first heard this one on an episode of The Rockford Files, and it's always stayed with me. I use it to refer to people with a huge head of steam just looking for any excuse to blow (paging Janeane Girafalo...).

Tune in next time for more tips on how to talk like Hickman!

1 comment:

NuclearToast said...

I'm more of the Andrew Dice Clay variety. Which probably explains my extremely brief stint as an altar boy/acolyte.