It's so easy for readers to come up with even more malaprops


August 24, 1994|By DAN RODRICKS

Once again, my mugs runneth over. Once again -- and I don't care what the lady with the sexy Kathleen Turner voice says -- we turn to the big shoe box on my desk for another column of malaprops. Why? Because we love you. Because this will really tick off the woman with the sexy Kathleen Turner voice. (I love her when she's angry.) And because there is hardly a place I haven't been. And because almost every place I haven't been someone -- the woman in the curtsy booth at Super Fresh, the man at the receptacle desk in the Equitable Building -- mentions about these malaprops, which, of course, I am dependable on my readers for. So, I don't care what the woman with that sexy Kathleen Turner voice says about this being an "easy" column. Hey, spaghetti is easy, but you eat it, don't you?

Rogues Scholars and others

Pat Meyers once heard her grandmother say this of an ill relation: "I hope he's going to be all right; he's been having a problem with his prostitution gland."

Rubye Kosko, of Woodstock, Howard County, recently overheard a man griping about the president of the United States and the mayor of Baltimore: "It's a shame Clinton and Schmoke can't do better jobs considering how they're both Rogues Scholars."

Joan North overheard these, wrote them down and mailed them in (and let that serve as an example to all of you out there): "The prosecutors are gonna show that what O.J. did was pre-medicated murder. . . . My girlfriend always thinks the worst; her psychiatrist says she's a panic-depressive."

Stuart Comstock Gay, of the Maryland chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, heard the director of a large nonprofit organization mix two bromides to make one malaprop: "If you've buttered your bed, you've got to lie in it."

Lucy Marzano heard a co-worker comment on a local news story: "I hope they fry that guy in the Baltimore Gas & Electric chair."

When she was only 3 years old, Rose LeBlanc's daughter Amy (now 19) sang herself to sleep Christmas eve with a Mel Torme tune: "Chipmunks roasting on an open fire . . ."

Rhonda Adams asked a co-worker how the weekend went. The reply: "My boyfriend and I had a good time at the hotel. We sipped champagne and soaked in the cesspool."

Virginia Stein says her husband, Vic, is always murdering the language. This provides comic relief at tense moments. As he lay a hospital bed, awaiting bypass surgery, Vic explained why the procedure was necessary: "I have too many casseroles in my articles." Vic is also the guy who said: "There's too much indigestion on I-95. . . . I'm not betting on the Redskins; they're 10 dogs under. . . . Candyfuss [Wockenfuss Candies] has the best smell on Belair Raod. . . . They're building a 31-story condom downtown."

Handsome cooper cuff links

Twenty years ago, when he was a struggling art student -- is there any other kind? -- Craig Hankin got a job at Hardware Fair. He worked with friends, Kurt Hammond and Jimmy Owens, and they all joined in collecting what became known as Hardware Fairisms. Forthwith, a bit of the lexicon:

Copper cuff links (copper couplings)

Masculine tape (masking tape)

Menstallation (installation)

Sakrament (that blessed kind of cement mix)

Speed thermometer (speedometer)

Hammond remembers the old woman, a proper-looking Guilford dame, who came into the place, purchased the most powerful soldering iron in the store and cackled, "Well, this oughta curl my hair!"

In the summer of 1976, a patriotic young woman came into the Fair and said she wanted to paint her picnic table in Bicentennial colors. Owens went to the shelf and returned with a gallon each of red, white and blue paint. "No," the woman said, "I want it all in one can!" (Must have been another one of those struggling art students.)

Some four-letter words

I don't know where this list came from -- the return address indicated "Westinghouse Reliability Analysis Laboratory" -- but I'm assuming they came from co-workers of a person named Brooks (not Robinson). These, I'm told, are classic Brooksisms:

"He who laughs first laughs last."

"People who live in stone houses shouldn't throw rocks."

While bird-watching: "Look, the red-throated wench."

"That's water over the bridge."

"You can lead a man to the country, but you can't take a boy out of the city."

"You can take a fish out of water but you can't make him think."

"If that lunch box had ears it could tell some stories."

"There's a four-letter word for that: Selfish!"

Partial credit

Lori Olson works in a post office, where she and her co-workers often hear customers ask to have their parcels sent "partial post." One day, a woman came to the counter and asked if she had mistakenly left her "partial" there. A search for the parcel was initiated.

"How big is it?" Lori asked. "What was it wrapped in?"

"It's about regular size," the woman said, a puzzled glare on her face. "It was wrapped in a napkin."

"As it turned out," Lori reports, "she had removed her partial dentures at a restaurant, wrapped them in a napkin, put them in her purse and dropped them while transacting business at the post office. Yuck!"

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