The sky put on a bit of a show in the wee hours of this morning, prompting me to think of the Jimi Hendrix line, “Excuse me while I kiss the sky,” which then made me want to say, “Excuse me while I kiss this guy,” well, for reasons that should be obvious. (If not they are not, I refer you to this article.)
Which brings me to the actual point of this blog post:
Mondegreens, Malapropisms, and Mixed Metaphors
I come from a short line (as far as I know, it only spans two generations) of women who mix metaphors, misquote idioms and butcher lyrics. It’s not a proud legacy, but it is what it is. The defective gene can be traced to my mother who might say something like, “You can beat a dead gift horse, but you can’t make him drink.” She passed this trait on to my sister who will say with an air of proud surprise, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. I got that one right, didn’t I?!” when (on occasion) she gets an idiom correct.
They’re funny, my mom and my sister, and their mixed-up expressions, but I don’t laugh too loudly.
He Who Laughs Last Laughs Best
My form of the malady manifests itself specifically in my tendency to invent song lyrics. When I was a little girl I used to love a song that was apparently about a garden that just couldn’t or wouldn’t grow Japanese peas. Ooh, ooh, ooh. Perhaps you’ve heard it. I think the band is called Chicago.
What are Japanese peas? I have no idea. A lesser-known variety similar to snow peas or sugar snap peas? Why don’t they grow? Perhaps not enough water or sunlight, I don’t know. I didn’t question it, I just sang along. Later—to my everlasting disappointment—I found out the real lyrics were, “Ooh ooh ooh, no baby please don’t go.”
My version is less needy and not quite so pathetic.
PS. Speaking of mistaken lyrics and total eclipses…I did a web search for misunderstood lyrics for Total Eclipse of the Heart and found this: “Totally, clips of the heart.” Submitted, I’m guessing, by a valley girl.
Here’s an old commercial that features two guys singing loud, singing proud, but above all, singing words that only make sense to the ones singing!