I’m fond of those who mean one thing and accidentally say another. These are my people. The official word for such a thing is malapropism and I tend to produce them in multiples when I get excited. As a public speaker who loves to travel and is always enthusiastic about meeting new people, this has led to some interesting exchanges. On at least two occasions, I’ve introduced myself to someone by the name printed on their name tag. Oh, yeah, that’s a real icebreaker.
It can also be embarrassing for a writer who is trying to make a living with her words, which is why I think it might be encouraging for people like me to create our own club. We could call it Malaprops are Us and I could see if Mama D wants to join us. She’s a lot of fun! My friend’s real name is Dorothy but just about everyone calls her Mama D.
Over the years Mama D’s family has collected a number of what they call Dorothyisms. For example, Mama D’s husband does have problems with his sciatic nerve but his psychotic nerve is just fine.
Mama D keeps everyone guessing with her habit of combining familiar sayings into one puzzling expression, but to a person they’ll tell you that her can-do spirit is the backbone of her family, church, and community. Mama D might find herself “broke as a day of spades” but to her it will just be a “kink in the ointment.”
Not long ago, Mama D took a scary fall from a cotton module. At the hospital, the family gathered around their beloved matriarch who was now heavily bandaged around her head and right ankle. Her loved ones listened as the doctor expressed his concern that she might also have a concussion. As he went down the list of things they should be watching for, the family locked in on one tell-tale sign: Should Mama D begin to get her words confused, they were to notify him immediately.
Perhaps their concern about that could best be expressed by another famous member of Malaprops are Us. In the words of Yogi Berra, “It gets late early around here.”
I hope y’all have a great big weekend, folks. Oh, and if you’re malaprop-prone or know someone who is, I’d love to hear your stories!