Back in the Psychic village of Ashton (cf. previous posts), while sitting at lunch, a young area farmer stated, “I can’t use all this butter.” He was speaking of a prepackaged tiny tub of joy, of real cream butter. You could hear a pierogi drop as thousands of babushkas stared in disbelief from the Kingdom of Heaven. Too much butter? Who has spoken these words of heresy in the sacred precincts of Sherman County?
The women and men surrounding him convulsed in silent screams at his words. The reaction was similar to announcing he had leprosy and Covid at the same time, but much worse. In the land of milk, cattle, hogs, chickens, corn, soybeans and beer who could ever have too much butter? While the potential apostate continued to chew in insidious silence, the murmurs began. “Can he be deprogrammed? He must have smuggled himself in from Greeley County. Is he dangerous in this state? Was he adopted? Where can I get poppyseed kolaches?”
It was eventually agreed by all present that the perpetrator must have suffered a small stroke; he was tentatively forgiven for the misplaced phrase but watched carefully thereafter by the Innocuous Inquisition of Ashton. It was with this incident in mind that the Inquisition began to look for others who misused or falsified a phrase. A few of the notables of this year come to mind.
“Use a tissue on your nose.” Verdict: FALSE Proper phrasing: “God gave you fingers if there’s something in your nose.”
“No more beer for me, thank you.” Verdict: INTRUDER ALERT Properly phrased response: “Get out of our town you pagan son of a shiftless and hairy Hittite!”
“No thanks Mom, I don’t like czarnina (duck blood soup).” VERDICT: TIME TO TELL THE BOY HE’S ADOPTED.
“Dad I’m going to do homework.” VERDICT: INCOMPLETE PHRASE Should be followed by, “after I feed the calves, make sure the chickens have water, grind enough hay for the week, check the cattle on the north 80 and sharpen the blades on the disk.”
“Are you a Republican or Democrat?” VERDICT: MEANINGLESS QUESTION. PROPERLY PHRASED QUESTION: “Green tractor or red tractor?”
During this Christmas season we are encouraged to keep our words and phrases simple; after all, we celebrate a simple uncomplicated birth of Jesus. All right, there is the stuff about a manger, a star, shepherds and a choir of angels, but apart from that the birth brings a simple message “our salvation is close; God is with us!”
There is so much more to say but I need to shop for more butter.