Tonight I was recalling phrases that didn't make sense to me as a child. My mom commented that she could never understand why her mother told her to eat her vegetables, as there were children starving in China. I got to thinking about some of mine, and I'll share them with you here.
#1. You know that song, "Mairzie Doats?" Well, in case you're not familiar, the first two lines are, "Mairzie Doats and Dozie Doats, and liddle lamsie divy. A kiddledy divy too, wouldn't you?"
I was staying with my sister in Virginia for a time, and we were watching Shari Lewis and Lambchop with her daughter. Let's see, this was about thirteen years ago. Anyway, Shari and Lambchop were singing this song, and I turned to my sister. "Wouldn't I what?"
"E divy," she said, a puzzled look on her face.
I threw up my hands. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Tris," she said, with great emphasis on each word, "MARES EAT OATS."
I looked at her, comprehension beginning to dawn. "And . . . does eat oats?"
She nodded, and together we said, triumphantly, "And little lambs eat ivy!" We then collapsed into a fit of giggles.
I finally got it. Yeah, I was smart.
#2. My entire life, I've heard the expression, "Wear clean underwear in case you have an accident." I never understood that caution. If I've had an accident, what does it matter if my underwear were clean to start with?
As I believe I've mentioned, my two-year-old was born via emergency c-section. I go into the exam room and they're getting me up on the table and dressed in a gown, and suddenly, like light shining through a split in the clouds, it came to me. I shouldn't wear clean underwear in case I have an accident; I should wear clean underwear in case I get into an accident. Two such very different meanings. Did I mention I was twenty-eight, nearly twenty-nine, when I had this revelation?
I should probably link this to writing and say that as authors, we should make sure that we always state what we mean clearly, so our readers know exactly what we're getting at. But I'm good with letting this be an expose of my foibles. I'm just glad we all get smarter as we get older.