Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Smoofee Doofee Office Talk

"The men I date don't need Viagra."

And indeed, a merrier widow I've never met.  But she's not saying what you're thinking.  And that was part of her charm.

She worked as a part-time receptionist at an office where I was formerly employed, and whenever it was her day to work, the rest of us knew we were in for a treat.  She was probably older than she looked, and certainly older than she acted.  She was one of those people who never seemed to have a really bad day, even when she was being treated for cancer.  Life was always an adventure for her, and, by extension, for us.  We simply had to come to work to go along with her.

Her husband, a Baptist minister, had died suddenly in his late 40's from cancer.  He had also sold life insurance on the side, and before becoming ill, had purchased a policy on himself that, upon his passing, left his widow financially comfortable.  She often claimed she'd gladly give all that money back if God would give her back her husband, but it also meant that she didn't need to work as much for the money, as it was to get out of her house.

She had two grown and married children living here in the area, and a son a few hours north in Oklahoma, plus grandkids and other relatives to keep her busy.  Plus her church.  Plus her volunteer work with a couple of local faith-based charities.  Although she was quite attractive, dressed stylishly, and would have made an all-around good catch for some fortunate fella, she really didn't date much, because she simply had no extra time for romance!

And, well, because she found out most unmarried men her age wanted her to take care of either themselves or their elderly parents.

Besides, she simply had too much spunk.  Then there was her being the widow of a Southern Baptist preacher, and a lifelong Baptist herself, which meant she expected the utmost in chivalry and morality from her menfolk.  That's why, when she was joking around with us about her slow dating life, she laughed that the men she'd gone out with don't need Viagra, because she didn't allow any hanky-panky.

Oh - did I mention that she had a creative way with words?  Even if what she meant wasn't always understood by those to whom she was talking.

We never really knew what she was going to say - or how she was going to say it.  For example, one of her favorite verbs was "bee-pee-doopin'," as in, "he went bee-pee-doopin' down the street."  Her exclamations and original colloquialisms became legendary.  In fact, I started writing them down, they were so extraordinary.  Here are just a few:
  • Hoot de loodulee!
  • Kiss my bunkers
  • Bootlee skwoot
  • Hoodlee doodlee's
  • Fiddle-dee-di-do
  • Tough luck stuff
  • Holy coot
  • You lazy gut
  • Yay-by-hoo
  • Bull-shooie  (probably to keep herself from uttering a more popular curse)

Her nouns and adjectives also defied description:
  • Fleefee floppy
  • Thingey-loobie
  • Thingey-boopie
  • Smoofee doofee
  • Pur-dee ol'
  • Woolly buggers
  • Incentatism (for "incentive," I think)
  • Flat as a flitter
  • Hotter than a fruitcake
  • Colder than a bat's butt flying backwards through a hail storm
One time, she was describing someplace, and she compared it by referencing a region of East Texas, known for its forests of pine trees.  So yes, I wrote it down, since the phrase she used was so peculiar, but I still don't know what it means:

"Like the Piney Woods without the trees."

Huh?  Can there be woods without trees?

I'd hear these things as she talked to various co-workers, managers, and even clients in the office, and I'd call out, "well, that one has to go on the list!"  But she was so good-natured, she didn't mind.  About the only protest she'd make is that this couldn't have possibly been the first time we'd heard that particular phrase.  Apparently, she grew up hearing these things from her family members in 1950's Fort Worth.

"No," we'd assure her, "you're entirely unique, and we like you that way!"

Here are some more examples of her unique eloquence:
  • Regularly figure-out-able
  • I'm fixin' ta thought of sumpthin'
  • Scares the lily outta me
  • It's a dog eat world out there
  • Eating off the goopies
  • I don't stick my tongue out for anybody
  • Does your camera take pictures?
  • Wore plumb slap-dab out
Once, when she was playfully reprimanding me, probably for forgetting something, she said "I told you three times" while she held up four fingers.

I mentioned earlier that she always dressed for the office to make a good impression, and once, when looking at models all dolled up in a fashion magazine, she wondered out loud, "don't they get tired of always having to look like that?  I know I do."  Yet she said it without an ounce of vanity, because she wasn't vain at all.  That's what made all of these sayings even more hilarious - at least to us.  She wasn't trying to be funny, or smart, or cute.  Her brain was shooting thoughts into her mouth, and her mouth just couldn't always keep up, and words would just tumble out.

I'm telling you all this not to make fun of my former co-worker, because oftentimes, when she'd stop and listen to what she'd just said, she'd laugh as loud as any of us.  Maybe she was even more tickled that we were paying attention to her every word, instead of treating her like many office workers treat part-time receptionists.  But we weren't the only ones paying attention.  When a daughter-in-law of hers came by the office one day, and I told her I was keeping a running list of her mother-in-law's sayings, she burst out in a good-natured laugh, saying mine was such a good idea, she should do the same at her home!  Obviously, our co-worker talked like this with everybody she knew.

It's been years since I saw this former co-worker, and I'm not even sure the company for which we both worked is still in business.  But I found that list the other day while sorting through some other paperwork, and oh, the memories it brought back!

They say that languages are always evolving, and within our little brick and glass office building, that was certainly the case.  I suppose we were our own Galapagos Island, what with all the fleefee-floppy, smoofee doofee woolly buggers scaring the lily out of us as we ate off the goopies.

Linguistic evolution?  Hey:  It's like the Piney Woods without the trees.

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