Me and my friends grew up mangling words and phrases and enjoyed it. It is as if we needed to so we’d own the language(s) we spoke and wrote. After all, English is a foreign language. As is Mandarin. (I might be Chinese, but my forefathers spoke no Mandarin because they were Hokkien and Hainanese.) At school, it was the cool thing to do to prove one’s linguistic dexterity.
Malapropisms and spoonerisms add colour to language. It doesn’t have to be intentional (Mrs Malaprop never meant to say what she said, nor did the Rev. Spooner), as demonstrated by some friends who exploit their scatterbrainedness for a living. And then tonight, as I was asking Scrabble Girl what she would be up to in the wee small hours (because the Scrabble set was on loan to another friend), she said she’d “watch some program, probably ‘Sands of Our Time’, ya know, the silly soap opera?”
The funniest malapropisms and turns of phrase tend to be unintentional bloopers. My friend Ryan, for instance, has a penchant for overcomplicating everything, his own sentences included. He once wanted to give me a piece of advice about how my well-meaning actions would yield disastrous consequences, but couldn’t think of the proper idiom. What came out was, “Dude, you are standing on the pavement on the highway to hell even though you think you are doing good things”.
Another hilariously convoluted but memorable idiom from Ryan is “You cannot consume all the cake in the world even though you have it”.
Come to think of it, Ryan exploits his convoluted muddleheadedness for a living too. He’s a lawyer.
Then there was the hairstylist friend who excitedly declared his new wallet ‘bisexual’ because both men and women could carry it. In that same conversation, he also mentioned something about sitting on the bus next to this guy who had very bad Ph.D, so smelly he said, he almost fainted.
As you can imagine, me and my friends enjoy jokes about dyslexia, but of course, we know it’s bad, it’s mean and we’ll burn in hell and all that. But you know, as long as we’re aware of that, I’ll throw some in here for good measure:
How did the dyslexic devil worshipper end up working at the North Pole?
He sold his soul to Santa.
What did the dyslexic, agnostic insomniac do?
Stayed up all night wondering if there’s a dog.
and my favourite slogan:
Dyslexic Sisters of the World Untie!
At my former school, if you made a mistake speaking, you weren’t allowed to live it down. Twenty years after one such blooper, every time we need a taxi, my friend goes, “Hey look, a flag, quick, cab the flag, cab the flag!”
Days were the those, the green is always grassier on the other side, where yonder lies the father of my castle.