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Diane Mack: Mom was a master of malapropisms

Staff Writer
The Examiner
Camera:   EOSDCS1B        Serial #: K600-A336Width:    3060Height:   2036Date:  7/18/02Time:   12:52:31DCS4XX ImageFW Ver:   051998          TIFF ImageLook:   Portrait----------------------Counter:    [ 7]ISO:        80  Aperture:   F6.7Shutter:    60  Exposure:   M   Exp Comp:    0.0Meter area: SpotFlash sync: NoneFlash comp:  0.0Drive mode: SingFocus mode: One Lens (mm):  0080

My sister Laura and I were talking about mom the other day.

Mom has been gone five years. We miss her so much, including her kindness, her cooking and her positive thoughts about everyone.

Mom was cute. She was also very unique, especially in the language department. Mom had her own kind of verbiage.

Mom changed words consistently. Or should I say inconsistently? Mom was a one-of-a-kind communicator.

Have you ever heard of malapropisms? Well, mom was an expert malaproper, if there is such a person. Actually, there was a Mrs. Malaprop at one time.

Mrs. Malaprop, a humorous character from the 1775 Comedy, “The Rivals,” by Richard Sheridan, used inappropriate words.

Mrs. Malaprop regularly substituted a similar sounding word for the actual word which she wanted to say. Does that make sense?

Anyway, back to my mom.

On a daily basis my mom either said an incorrect word or misused words. For example, mom mentioned that Dan’s car, the taco (Tahoe), was in the shop.

I couldn’t laugh on the phone. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. But when I hung up, I laughed so hard that I cried.

I asked my sister Laura what she recalled of mom’s funny expressions. Laura lived close to mom, saw her often, and heard mom’s malapropisms regularly. I couldn’t stop laughing when Laura threw some of mom’s words at me. She made us both laugh.

“I’m going to give dad a can of jeopardy.” (Jevity)

“I wonder how Josiah is doing.” (His name is Joshua. Mom had been calling him Josiah for 30-plus years)

“Did you hear that Dan was having ahabs?” (A-fibs)

“I don’t like taking my pregnant-zone.” (Prednasone)

I asked Laura if malapropisms were hereditary. She said she didn’t think so but mentioned a phone call from her son Dustin. Dustin was at the hospital and phoned his mom to report, “We’re on our way home but we have to stop at the pharmacy.

“We need to get the kid’s subscription filled for the depository.” (Prescription, suppository)

Oh my, we’re in quite a family mess here.

I hope I don’t get it.

Wait a minute. Several years ago, I do recall daughter Kortney phoning to ask what Jeremy was wearing to courtwarming. I informed her that he was dressing like a slug. She asked me to repeat myself.

I told Kortney that her brother Jeremy was dressing like a slug.

She said she didn’t understand.

This generation, they don’t understand one word of the English language.

I once again repeated myself, “Kortney, Jeremy was dressed like a … you know … gangster, hooligan, ruffian … a slug.”. (Thug)

– Diane Mack is coordinator of Putting Families First, Jackson County's Family Week Foundation. Email her at Director@jacksoncountyfamilyweek.org.