Tuesday, July 29, 2008

These are the Things

My grandfather had a unique way of speaking. He was a Seabee in the war and then a woodworker, for pay until he retired and for pleasure after that. He never made one of anything. Instead he'd make a jig or a pattern and bang out piece after piece after piece. When he died, he made me promise to finish about a dozen little wooden rocking chairs for teddy bears for which he'd already made all the parts. He refused to go until I said I'd finish them.

He crafted his words the same way. Unique phrases of his own design, usable over and over again. Efficient, lean, like a scribe mark on the router table. Here's a sample;

"It don't make."
Translation: "It doesn't make a bit of difference."
Context: On looking at a manual on massage featuring nude couples, "It don't make that they're bare."

"That weighs quite a little."
Translation: "It looks like it should be light, because it's small. But it's actually kind of heavy."

"These are things."
Translation: "Well, Richard, there are a lot of things in life that you have to consider very carefully."
Context: Used to close every declarative statement.
Etymological note: In his 70's it was, "These are the things." In his 80's, "These are things." I expect that if he had lived to 90 it would have become, "Things."

"Yer gettin' silly. Go to bed."
Apologia: OK, this is completely self-explanatory and not incredibly unique. But I heard it quite a little as a kid, when we'd stay overnight at his house. Usually uttered after my brother and I became completely insane watching Benny Hill with the old man.

I'm getting silly. End of post.

This story is Completely True.

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