Barnstorming on an Invisible Segway - fake swears [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Marissa Lingen

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fake swears [Mar. 24th, 2010|06:02 pm]
Marissa Lingen
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If you've noticed that I haven't been posting to lj much lately, you may have thought that the vertigo was bad, or that I might have been sick, or that I might have been busy with other things, or that I might have been writing a lot of fiction. And in fact any of you who thought any of those things wins the prize: I have been sick, the vertigo has been bad, I've been busy with other things (most of them either fun or long-term satisfying and a fairly large number both), and I've gotten a lot of writing done.

But that's not what I want to talk about today. Maybe later.

No, it's this: I have some new favorite fake swears.

I love fake swears. It's not that I give up real swears for them. And I don't mean euphemisms. When somebody says, "Oh, fu-uummmmm, fudge. Fudge, yes. That is what I meant to say. Fudge. Also shoot," no one is fooled, except possibly the small child who is meant to avoid learning the word in question until it has enough discretion to choose when to use it and when not. No, I mean fake swears like "Oh for the love of Pete!", where it was not intended to come out as something else but there isn't anything particular about the love of Pete that might fit a frustrating situation. I love those. When I'm frustrated or disgusted and say, "Oh, for the love of Pete!", I often giggle and feel better.

My two new favorites that I wanted to tell you about are chicken dishes and flax waffle. the_overqual designed a museum display with some chicken dishes, and he posted to FB about it, and it sounded so frustrated even though he didn't sound frustrated. Chicken dishes. Oh, chicken dishes! I have burnt my tongue on overly-hot cocoa! Chicken dishes! I didn't order tickets in time to see that concert, and it's all sold out! Chicken dishes!

Flax waffle is new today, because I was thinking about what I would have for dinner if timprov is not up and at-'em enough to have a real dinner with me, and we have flax waffles in the freezer, and they're not too bad, could be worse. No good with grape jelly, but never mind, one can't have everything, at least not in a waffle. And then I thought, wow, that's a great sound for an insult. Dude, don't be such a flax waffle. I was going to ask him, but he was being such a flax waffle that I didn't want to bring it up. Look, I'm sorry if I was kind of a flax waffle about this; I'll really try to keep it together more in the future.

I don't know, I just like them.

Edited to add: And then I forgot to mention one of my favorite old ones, which is from Maud Hart Lovelace's Betsy-Tacy books. This came up when someone was unjust to a dear friend: that person can Go Way Back and Sit Down. I like this because it isn't ill-wishing, and it's too specific to be a euphemism for "go to hell." It's not like going to Hartford, Hereford, or Hampshire. It's its own thing: go way back and sit down. Do not forget to sit down when you get there. Yes.
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[User Picture]From: sraun
2010-03-24 11:08 pm (UTC)
How would my muttered "mrfl, mrfl, mrfl" count?
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-03-24 11:17 pm (UTC)
I would call that a broad-spectrum euphemism.

Euphemisms are sometimes useful and sometimes fun. We had a lovely party once where we were trying to talk about The Wire without getting the 5-year-old in trouble at kindergarten that week, and we were using color words for "colorful" language: those of us who had seen The Wire were explaining a scene where the cops only said "fuchsia" and "mauve-and-fuchsia" while investigating a murder scene. It was perfect: the people who already knew those words had no trouble decoding, and the little dude did not go to school sounding like Bunk Moreland.
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[User Picture]From: redbird
2010-03-24 11:10 pm (UTC)
I like those.

My all-purpose, non-euphemistic, G-rated one is from A.A. Milne: "Bother!"
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[User Picture]From: the_jackalope
2010-03-25 02:03 pm (UTC)
That's my favorite too.

Oh bother.
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[User Picture]From: leahbobet
2010-03-24 11:10 pm (UTC)
The best fake swear I have ever heard is "horsefeathers." It rocks my universe.
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[User Picture]From: roane
2010-03-24 11:12 pm (UTC)
I LOVE 'flax waffle'. Although I'd be more likely to employ it more like 'chicken dishes'. Oh, flax waffles!
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[User Picture]From: brooksmoses
2010-03-24 11:22 pm (UTC)
I remember "gods in pink feathers!" from lilairen. I don't recall where she got it from, but I think it was rooted in a theological debate in a fictional culture.
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[User Picture]From: papersky
2010-03-25 12:13 pm (UTC)
Gods-be-feathered is from the Chanur books. I don't recall any mention of the colours, perhaps Darkhawk added that herself.
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[User Picture]From: swan_tower
2010-03-24 11:31 pm (UTC)
"Chicken dishes" made me think of something that doesn't count as a fake swear, as it has actual swearing in it, but is fun to say anyway: "fishy bitches." Which was the term used in a recent Podcastle ep ("The Mermaids' Tea Pary") for describing the eponymous, and not very nice, mermaids.

And it's just fun to say.

I do like "flax waffle," too. Especially since it seems perfectly suited for "Look, I'm sorry if I was kind of a flax waffle about this;" it seems to imply good intentions but less-than-solid results.

Of my own fake swears, "Ye gods and little fishes" (or "fishies") is one I enjoy using. Or "for the love of little green apples." No, I have no idea what the apples have to do with anything.
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[User Picture]From: swan_tower
2010-03-24 11:42 pm (UTC)
Oh, and "son of a hairless kumquat." Got that one from some high-school friends.
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[User Picture]From: nihilistic_kid
2010-03-24 11:32 pm (UTC)
Sweet Christmas!
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[User Picture]From: supergee
2010-03-24 11:33 pm (UTC)
I like "Drat!" because it's not obviously euphemistic.
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[User Picture]From: pnkrokhockeymom
2010-03-24 11:39 pm (UTC)
I say "Goodness Gravy," "Jiminy Cricket!" and "You're such a food eater." I don't know if those qualify. Montreal gets very pleased with "Goodness Gravy."

Lately, due to having seen the commercial for "My Baby Can Read" too frequently, I have also been saying "Oh no said Scwooge, oh no kind spiwit," whenever anything slightly-bad-but-not-too-bad comes up.
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[User Picture]From: pnkrokhockeymom
2010-03-24 11:40 pm (UTC)
Oh, and I also say "Holy Moly Macaroni Grill."

No, I don't know. I am a woman of many ridiculous sayings.
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From: diatryma
2010-03-25 12:02 am (UTC)
I wish my brain had grabbed 'stone of a peach' from a Patricia Briggs book. Euphemism, but a satisfying one-- all hissy and spitty and potentially cathartic.
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[User Picture]From: suzanne
2010-03-25 02:40 am (UTC)
Cheeses crusty, got all musty, got damp on the stone of a peach. Which proper emphasis of course.

I assimilated that one.
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[User Picture]From: fidelioscabinet
2010-03-25 12:03 am (UTC)
*loff*

That pretty well describes the last couple of days at work for me--Chicken dishes! What a grind! My co-worker's been out half Friday and yesterday, and all of today, so I had it all to do myself. He's not beeing a flax waffle, though--his mother's in the hospital.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-03-25 12:28 am (UTC)
Well, I'm glad he's not being a flax waffle, at least.
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[User Picture]From: desperance
2010-03-25 12:04 am (UTC)
I did myself decide a while back that custard was like dullard, an Elizabethan rudery - "oh, you insufferable custard!" - and now I'm wondering why so many of mine and yours and the above are food-related?

(Also, I have googled, and am wroth: "In Hartford, Hereford and Hampshire" produces twice as many hits as the actual quotation, which is of course "In Hertford, Hereford and Hampshire".)
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-03-25 12:29 am (UTC)
I am sorry to have helped along the path to making you wroth. We have Hartford here in the US, and I believe that's what Audrey Hepburn sang, although as always I could be wrong.
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[User Picture]From: asciikitty
2010-03-25 12:05 am (UTC)
"monkey!" became a catch-all word a few years back. It was a stand in for anything I didn't want to say real loud at work (like when I dropped a 25# bag of carrots on my toe) and also our code for cigarette, for reasons that are lost to the mists.

Monkey! isn't fake swearing though, it's a euphemism. For fake swearing I've mostly got "for the love of [Pete, little green apples, monkeys]"
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-03-25 12:30 am (UTC)
Ah. For us the monkeys are the non-canine mammals running about the house. It only gets sweary when the dog is looking sternly at us.
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[User Picture]From: txanne
2010-03-25 12:06 am (UTC)
I have often said that People What Are Mean To Me can go do something impolite to themselves. But I like "go way back and sit down" better.
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[User Picture]From: moiread
2010-03-25 12:12 am (UTC)
I am fond of "fuck-knuckles" as a real swear, typically when I have accidentally injured myself, so around the kids I change it to "duck-knuckles". This always makes them look at me with the o_O face. (I know it's a substitution swear, but gosh is it fun to say on its own, too.)

Edited at 2010-03-25 12:22 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-03-25 12:32 am (UTC)
It is a substitution swear, yes, but you have to go into it knowing that's what you're going to do. Otherwise you get halfway through and it's too late. And it does definitely sound fun on its own, and frankly I think that the original is whimsical enough to start out with that nobody will think duck knuckles makes less sense.
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[User Picture]From: wldhrsjen3
2010-03-25 12:14 am (UTC)
Hahahaha! I love those fake swears. :) And I bought my mom lovely copies of the Betsy-Tacy books, because she always says, "Heavens to Betsy!" and I never knew where on earth she got that expression until I saw those books in a catalog. ^_^
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-03-25 12:32 am (UTC)
Did she like them?
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[User Picture]From: reveritas
2010-03-25 12:19 am (UTC)
Mine is "For the love of corn!"

I mean, one of ten thousand and two. That's my most common one.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-03-25 12:32 am (UTC)
I like corn. But "for the like of corn!" is not so good.
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[User Picture]From: ellen_fremedon
2010-03-25 12:24 am (UTC)
The fake swears were one of my favorite features of The Middleman. Mutual of Omaha! Flowers for Algernon! Great Barrier Reef!
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-03-25 12:35 am (UTC)
Those are some potent fake swears, I will say.

I couldn't use "Mutual of Omaha" myself, because I grew up mostly in Omaha, so it would be like saying, "Prominent local business!"

Actually, "Prominent local business!" does sound a bit annoyed.

This reminds me that my cousin's other cousin's husband (a close relative, I assure you) is an architect, and they use the names of their current projects as fake swears in the office. "Oh, Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church!" they will say, or, "Spring Lake Park office complex!"
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[User Picture]From: merriehaskell
2010-03-25 12:42 am (UTC)
I misread FAR too much of this entry being entirely puzzled about what the hell a fake sweater was. I will read this entry again using the right word when my blush has faded.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-03-25 12:47 am (UTC)
It's when somebody uses a Sharpie to draw cables on a T-shirt?
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[User Picture]From: aliseadae
2010-03-25 01:19 am (UTC)
You'd enjoy watching sam_stil play Super Smash Brothers. He has the best fake swears. One of his more frequently used ones is monkey biscuits.
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[User Picture]From: dichroic
2010-03-25 01:32 am (UTC)
I use "rats!" and "good grief!", having been a Peanuts fan my whole life, but my favorite was used by someone I went to college with: "Holy hammer!"

I always enjoyed imagining it being a millenium-old swear originating with Thor-worship. (I did ask once: she said she picked it up from someone she used to know, and had no idea of its origin.)
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[User Picture]From: themagdalen
2010-03-25 01:37 am (UTC)
Sweeeeeet Vidalia Onion!
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[User Picture]From: houseboatonstyx
2010-03-25 02:19 am (UTC)
In my prissy Southern family it was, "Oh, your foot in the tar bucket!"

Ozarque had some nicer ones; many rigorous variations of "Oh, bless his heart!"
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[User Picture]From: reveritas
2010-03-25 02:33 am (UTC)
In my husband's prissy Southern family it's "My Word Matilda!"
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[User Picture]From: zeborahnz
2010-03-25 02:22 am (UTC)
I've been having a right flax waffle of a day and this was exactly what I needed. Thank you! :-)
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[User Picture]From: suzanne
2010-03-25 02:58 am (UTC)
In reference to the "Go Way Back and Sit Down" my grandmother's favorite insult to conclude a disagreement was "Because you don't have the sense God gave a little gray goose."

My work collegues were a bit... nonplussed when I got frustrated, dropped the accent down to southern, and came out with that.
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