It’s About Your Driving…a Danism

If, as you are heading for your car, you hear me admonish you to , “Drive Wreckless!” remember the spelling of the word. I am not encouraging you to be “reckless” as you careen about the city risking life,, limb and traffic citations. I am advising that you get home safe…WITHOUT having a wreck. Get it? “Wreckless.” And, no, I can’t remember where I first heard it. Maybe it’s original with me. I hope so. It would sure be cool to have something that I thought of all by myself! Siiggghhh.

‘Tis Grand to be a King . . .

. . . and march in glory through the streets of Persepolis!

As I recall, this may be a line from a play called Tamburlaine the Great by  Christopher Marlowe, but how would I know? I never read it. So where did I get such an irrelevant phrase? Portland State University, circa 1974 or thereabouts. I was in a play there and one of the professional actors in the production spoke the line out of context observing that when one  had nothing better to say, the line could as easily fit in one place as another. Relevance wasn’t an issue anyhow. So, while walking from place to place, or doing any number of random though needful activities why not simply sigh and say, “Ah, ’tis grand to be a king and march in glory through the streets of Persepolis!”

Indeed, why not? Relevance is highly overrated.

Nervous as a . . .

… long-tailed cat in a room full of rockin’ chairs.

What a great way to describe being uncomfortable! Why would you say you were feeling anxious or stressed out, when you could say you felt as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rockin’ chairs?

Where did that danism come from? I believe it was Tennessee Ernie Ford. He was pretty big stuff back in the day. He contributed several aphorisms to my repertoire.

Chugging Along Like a . . .

. . . steam-powered pickle seeder.

What in the world? That’s what, Kyle, my young friend at the gym wondered as I was wheezing away on the elliptical machine this morning. He had asked me how I was doing today and I responded with, “Oh, just chuggin’ along like a steam powered pickle seeder!”

Indeed, what in the world?

This danism came from one of my favorite podasts: A Way with Words — the show about language and how we use it.  The hosts take questions from callers, one of whom wondered why her grandfather might use the phrase under discussion. The answer? They didn’t know, either. One thing is sure: there just ain’t much use for a “pickle seeder.” Steam-powered or nuclear, why would you want to seed pickles?

So, what’s my explanation? As I explained to Kyle, a device of this kind huffs ‘n puffs; clatters and bangs; belches and clangs doing a job that, let’s face it, just doesn’t need to be done.  Sometimes that feels like the story of my life, especially as I flail and wheeze on an exercise machine.

You can find  the podcast at www.waywordradio.org.