Metatalktail Hour: What is this, some kind of joke? January 15, 2022 10:03 AM   Subscribe

100% stealing this from @dorkusmalorkus_ on Twitter, who asked what personal little 'jokes' do you have?: please bring out your timeworn silly jokes or sayings that you repeatedly indulge in with friends, family, pets, workmates, or just to entertain yourself — the older and goofier, the better. (Refrain: That's what she said.)

Or just talk about what's on your mind, what you had for lunch, or anything you'd like to chat about (except you-know-what).
posted by taz (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 10:03 AM (201 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

Here is something I memorized from a library book nearly 60 years ago. Always was a reliable go-to when family conversation slowed down, and still is.

I come before you
To stand behind you
To tell you something
I know nothing about.

Next Thursday,
Which is Good Friday,
There will be a mothers’ meeting for fathers only.

Wear your good clothes if you haven’t any,
And if you can come, please stay at home.

Admission is free, you pay at the door.
Take a seat, and sit on the floor.

It makes no difference where you sit,
The man in the gallery is sure to spit.

The next number will be the four corners of the round table.

I thank you for your unkind attention.
posted by kinnakeet at 10:16 AM on January 15 [7 favorites]


There is a Bill Engvall comedy CD (I forget which it's on) where he talks about going to fairs, mentioning things like (a) why are they selling pet rocks, (b) why are they selling actual blow guns to kids, and (c) why do they sell spas at fairs, like that's an impulse purchase?

After my mother and I go to a fair, or craft fair, or festival, or anything along those lines where one buys a lot of stuff, I quote this to her:

"Well, we've had a good day at the fair. The kids got their blow guns, we got a couple of smiling rocks for the garden. What the hell, let's get a spa!"
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:31 AM on January 15 [7 favorites]


one of my favorite jokes does not really work in text but here we go:

why do the French only eat one egg for breakfast? because one egg is un oeuf (enough) HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAAA!!!

this has led to a long trad of my husband and I discussing breakfast options "well we only have one egg left" "do you think it will be enough???" we have yet to tire of this. really...
posted by supermedusa at 10:36 AM on January 15 [26 favorites]


One from our house: Many millennia ago, some friends were over, and one was a tall guy, with very big feet, and he happened to be wearing boat shoes that summer day. For some reason, our cat, who had never exhibited this behavior before, went totally wild for his feet / shoes, attaching and wrapping herself around one foot, scrabbling with her back legs, trying to stick her whole face inside the shoe. Naturally, this was a source of great entertainment for the rest of us and we made lots of stupid jokes like, you know what they say about guys with big feet, don't you? CATS LOVE THEM. Lots of silly stuff. Well, eventually he drew himself up with an exaggerated expression of injured dignity and responded, excuse me, but it's not just the size, it's also the smell.

So of course, "it's not just the size, it's also the smell" has found its way into our household banter as a response to various situations pretty frequently. For decades.
posted by taz (staff) at 10:44 AM on January 15 [41 favorites]


If one of my kids asks how much longer it will be until something happens, I'm likely to respond the way my mother used to (repeating something her own parents used to say): "It won't be long now," said the monkey as he ran over his tail with the lawnmower.
posted by Redstart at 10:46 AM on January 15 [8 favorites]


These are two things my dad used to say that we keep in regular rotation…

When discussing breakfast plans: If I had some eggs, I’d have ham and eggs, if I had some ham. This can be adapted to any pair of items in any situation.

When discussing the possibility of too much of something: Well, we’ll eat what we can and what we can’t, we’ll can.
posted by veneer at 11:26 AM on January 15 [13 favorites]


I managed to remove the phrase ‘I’m hot’ from my wife’s vocabulary by replying ‘yeah you are’ every single time she said it.
posted by markslack at 11:56 AM on January 15 [12 favorites]


When we were young, my friends and I were prodded by our mothers to conclude visits with,

"Thank you for coming over,"
And,
"Thank you for inviting me."

Even though we're in our 40s, we will still say goodbye this way, in youthful, sing-songy voices.

Everyone who observes this finds it disconcerting.
posted by champers at 12:02 PM on January 15 [15 favorites]


When we were kids and we'd done something where we'd really exerted ourselves, my mom would say "You're gonna SLEEP TONIGHT" to which I'd always reply "Mom, I sleep every night." Now it's a thing that me and my sister and not_on_display say to one another any time we're tired out.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:20 PM on January 15 [7 favorites]


Mr. Armeowda leaves for his office about an hour after my remote workday begins; he always stops for a goodbye kiss, and I’m usually already in hyperfocus by that point.

One morning, midway through the usual leave-taking, I noticed he had a peanut-butter-and-hot-sauce sandwich in hand (it’s a thing with him). Already a little mentally overloaded, I interrupted myself midway:

“Have a nice…sandwich?”

We now routinely wish each other a “nice sandwich” when one of us is leaving home.
posted by armeowda at 12:59 PM on January 15 [15 favorites]


One weekend some time ago, I wandered into the living room from the bedroom at around 2 pm and said, for no apparent reason, “We could have dinner.” I have no idea why I said it. So now when we're hanging around the house during the day doing not much of anything, one of us will say, apropos of nothing, “We could have dinner.”
posted by holborne at 1:18 PM on January 15 [7 favorites]


A joke my dad used to tell me and my brother when we were tiny tots:

The teacher asks little Charlie: "If you have 10 salmons and you get 5 halibuts, how many fishes do you have?"
And little Charlie he thinks, and he thinks. And then he thinks some more. Finally the teacher loses patience and asks him again: "It's not that hard. If you have 10 salmons ..."
"Oh," says little Charlie. "Did you say 'salmons'? And here I was counting perches ..."

So this, to me, is our family joke.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 1:37 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


My brother is pretty good at telling jokes - he remembers them, his delivery is decent, they tend to go down well.

My sister and I don't really share this trait. Once, my sister was telling a version of this joke* with a punchline that heavily relies on the name of the bird. When she got to the punchline, she didn't get a big reaction. At which point, she realized she left out that crucial detail and shouted "The parrot's name is Chet!"

We now tend to shout this whenever one of us has forgotten to relay key information, whether for a joke or otherwise.

*(Link is to reddit, you can find versions of it easily by googling "Chet's nuts roasting on an open fire" if you hate reddit but absolutely must read this joke.)
posted by the primroses were over at 2:23 PM on January 15 [6 favorites]


We just do that thing where you see someone wearing camo and say "Aaah! a floating head". I don't see how it could ever not be funny, really.
posted by pipeski at 2:46 PM on January 15 [20 favorites]


Two men were on their way to the annual Longest Dick in the World Contest.
To get there they have to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.
Halfway across, one of them says to the other, "I have to pee."
The other says, "Me too!"
So they both whip out their dicks, dangle them over the edge, and pee.
While doing this, one of them turns to the other and says "Damn, this water's cold!"
And the other turns back and says....
"Yeah, and it's deep too!"
posted by chavenet at 3:09 PM on January 15 [7 favorites]


Every time we would drive by a cemetery, my dad would point it out and say, "Popular place. People are dying to get in there."

When I had young kids, I continued the tradition.

Now I just do it to annoy my wife.
posted by COD at 3:18 PM on January 15 [4 favorites]


Whenever I need to use the kitchen funnel, I put it on my head and say in a squeaky voice, out of the side of my mouth, "OIL CAN!" Cracks me up every single time. My very kind indulgent husband will smile and maybe even chuckle.
posted by Kangaroo at 3:30 PM on January 15 [14 favorites]


The teacher asks little Charlie: "If you have 10 salmons and you get 5 halibuts, how many fishes do you have?"
And little Charlie he thinks, and he thinks. And then he thinks some more. Finally the teacher loses patience and asks him again: "It's not that hard. If you have 10 salmons ..."
"Oh," says little Charlie. "Did you say 'salmons'? And here I was counting perches ..."


I don't get it!
posted by Well I never at 3:37 PM on January 15 [6 favorites]


Every time leftovers get ensconsed in aluminum foil, I always, always say "curses; foiled again". I wish there was some way to avoid it, but, alas, there's not.

Curses
posted by mightshould at 3:42 PM on January 15 [25 favorites]


Whenever we see cows in a pasture, I go on and on to my wife about what excellent cows the must be. Truly amazing cows. You can really tell what great cows they must be, I mean - just look at them! Out standing in their field.

Gets her every time.
posted by backseatpilot at 4:10 PM on January 15 [14 favorites]


If one of my kids asks how much longer it will be until something happens

On long car trips, every time our kids got (understandably!) bored and asked about when we'd get to our destination, we'd say "The more you ask, the longer it will take." Y'know, trying to teach them that dwelling on the time passing would make it seem to drag out longer. Until at some point we noticed the looks of guilt and dismay on their faces, and realized that instead if it being a clever bit of philosophy, or at least psychology, it sounded like a punishment - as though we'd slow down and make it take longer every time they asked. Whoops. After that we just told them the actual time left. So much for enlightened parenting.
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:14 PM on January 15 [7 favorites]


"Oh," says little Charlie. "Did you say 'salmons'? And here I was counting perches ..."

I don't get it!


Maybe you're using the wrong bait.
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:34 PM on January 15 [11 favorites]


We say "pants mode!" After doing up my daughter's nappy so she sticks her legs up so we can put on pants. But sometimes she angles her legs and both go in the same hole "that's not pants mode, that's mermaid mode!"

She sometimes does it on purpose and says "mermode!"
posted by freethefeet at 5:19 PM on January 15 [30 favorites]


When you learn to play piano, you'll learn a song titled Long, Long Ago, and Far, Far Away, at least, this was the case in the 60s when my sister took piano lessons. The piano was in the dining room. Many nights, after dinner, my Dad would say to my sister, Why don't you play Far, Far Away? and chortle. 6 kids. Not one of us got it until we were older and my Dad had passed away. I'd love the chance to talk to him, not least to tell him I finally got the joke.
posted by theora55 at 5:36 PM on January 15 [17 favorites]


"Play us a solo! ...so low we can't hear it."

"You should sing tenor - ten'r eleven miles away."
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:42 PM on January 15 [10 favorites]


Supermedusa, I don't know how to respond here but the "because that's un oeuf (enough)" is literally the only joke I have ever remembered in my life. (I also know a second one about lighthouse keeping).
posted by bquarters at 5:45 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


(I also know a second one about lighthouse keeping)

Illuminate us!
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:53 PM on January 15 [9 favorites]


Back when I was the office and we were frustrated with someone, one of us would repeat the line from The IT Crowd "People! What a bunch of bastards!"

When I was little and asked what time it was, my dad would answer, "It's time all dogs were dead. Do you feel sick?" I was never really sure why he said it, but a few years ago, I did a google search, and I found it listed in a paper about time-related western Kentucky retorts. My dad was from northern Kentucky.
posted by FencingGal at 6:15 PM on January 15 [4 favorites]


I love inside jokes. Love to be part of one someday.
posted by General Malaise at 6:32 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


I prefer outside jokes - they're a breath of fresh air.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:44 PM on January 15 [6 favorites]


When somene says, "You got a haircut!" you must respond with, "I got them all cut!"

When you kiss someone and they wipe the spot, you must exclaim, in mock horror: "You wiped it off!" and they must respond with, "No, no, I rubbed it in!"
posted by evilmomlady at 7:07 PM on January 15 [7 favorites]


We just do that thing where you see someone wearing camo and say "Aaah! a floating head".

When I first read this I thought you typoed "a cameo" and the joke still kind of worked.
posted by Stanczyk at 7:19 PM on January 15 [10 favorites]


This Is Just to say I put this in the wrong thread.


This is just to say
I didn't eat yer plums
Which I knew you
Were saving for breakfast.

I am not that gal, pal
I forgive you for
Accusing me of theft.
I have some p-nut butter
In there and toast material,
You're welcome to some,
And plum jam, bam!
posted by Oyéah at 7:28 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]


Me as a child: Mom, where are the cotton balls?
Mom: Funny, I didn’t know cotton had balls.

Repeat for any kind of object marketed as [x] balls.

I still text my mom pictures of any unusual things in balls that I find. Most recently it was a candy called dried green mango balls.
posted by ActionPopulated at 7:30 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]


When I was a child my grandfather once asked if I had ever noticed that when we saw a flock of geese migrating, they fly in a sort of V-shape, but one arm of the V is always longer. Then he asked if I knew why that was. I admitted I did not.

His answer: “There are more birds in it.”

That sort of reveal has settled deep into my mind as the mark of a solid joke. Mitch Hedberg used to pull this sort of thing off now and again, but my most recent encounter was a few weeks ago, watching QI. The discussion turned to rattlesnakes; Sandi Toksvig asked the panelists what they should do in the event of being bit by a rattlesnake.

There was some discussion of tourniquets and incisions to drain the venom. The answer, of course, was to call an ambulance.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:52 PM on January 15 [9 favorites]


I was just thinking about the Kubla Khan thread again and, look, I finished climbing the stairs five months ago but why should it be too late to post YOU SEEN MY FUCKEN DOMES?
posted by aws17576 at 8:10 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


This one annoys the hell out of my best friend:

“Remind me to take go to the drugstore.”

“Go to the drugstore.”
posted by Melismata at 8:21 PM on January 15 [9 favorites]


When I was little I would ask my father to tell me a story. When he didn't feel like it, or had told me some and didn't want to continue anymore, he would always say: "It was a dark and stormy night, and the wind blew, and all the little children gathered around the Captain and said, "Captain, tell us a story," and the Captain said, "It was a dark and stormy night ... "" - and repeat the cycle till young gudrun gave up in disgust. I still use this joke around my husband when I'm done talking about something.
posted by gudrun at 9:00 PM on January 15 [4 favorites]


When my kids were small we were reliably brought to tears listening to David Sedaris read his story "Our Perfect Summer," in which he overhears a woman casually mention "her home---well, one of her homes."

We now use this snobby phrasing every chance we get. "I'm taking off my shoes. Well, one of my shoes." "I'm eating breakfast. Well, one of my breakfasts." And of course, we extend it absurdly whenever we can: "Shall we board the plane now? Well, one of our planes." (An especial groaner if we're actually on a multi-leg trip.) Or, "Let's recycle to help the planet. Well, one of our planets."

When I was a kid, I lived someplace where there were local tv ads for monster truck races. The voiceover promised, "You'll pay for your whole seat, but you'll only use the edge!!!" One day my dad cracked the saying for something utterly banal and the incongruity was hilarious. So now we'll hype somewhat boring things with the same macho voiceover but downsize the excitement, like, "You'll unwrap the whole present, but you'll only use the inside!!"
posted by cocoagirl at 9:04 PM on January 15 [36 favorites]


One that’s been orbiting in my head, probably not completely accurate, from a saying piece in an old and gone barber’s shack on Ecorse in Ypsilanti, MI:

We, the unwilling,
Led by the unqualified,
Have been doing the unthinkable
(With so little)
For so long,
That we now do the impossible with nothing

Flash forward a decade and some change (last went to that barber about 2005), life changes a bit, and you start churning out the dad jokes amongst friends:

What do you call a sick submissive?
A collard green

And outside if that: occasionally if I’m feeling snarky I immediately remind the requester of something they asked me to remind them of; there’s also the “Abracadabra you are a [meal]” when the requester asks you to make them a meal (in those words: “make me a [meal]”).

Ah, take care all
posted by JoeXIII007 at 9:23 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]


Over here, there is a local accent that makes "eye" sounds sound like "are".
My Turkish brother in law was visiting the country for the first time. My sister in law told a story about how some kids at her school were expelled for fighting.
My brother in law, a reserved, quiet guy, didn't say much but seemed surprised, and much later, asked his wife whether they would really punish kids so severely for farting?

Now that particular accent misunderstanding has become a running joke and we keep finding more examples like "arsecream" instead of "ice-cream" and, in general, arse instead of eyes "his steely grey arse" etc.
posted by Zumbador at 9:25 PM on January 15 [13 favorites]


My maternal grandfather lived to the age of 93. He was still mentally pretty sharp all the way to the end, if a bit slower (the right synapses were firing, it just took a little longer to get there). One thing that he definitely remembered to the very end, though, was a favorite joke - which he tended to repeat more and more frequently for the last ten years or so of his life. It became such a THING that my aunt, when she was speaking at his memorial, said that "Daddy always told me to end speeches with a joke, so...." and she launched into it, and that was the point at which I finally started choking up.

This is a joke about an English man visiting New York City for the first time (and imagine a HORRIFICALLY BAD attempt at an English accent for when he speaks, by the way). He is staying at the Hotel Statler, and on his first night there he's got massively bad jet lag, and wanders down to the lobby. He's just sort of wandering around there, sleeplessly, not knowing what else to do with himself. The night clerk at the front desk watches him for a while and then says "Excuse me, I couldn't help noticing - is everything okay?"

"Well, old chap, I just have a dastardly case of jet lag and can't sleep."

"Well, how about I give you a riddle to help occupy you," the clerk says.

"Oh that's a jolly good idea there! Sure, why not."

"Okay. So: it's not my brother, and it's not my sister, but it's the offspring of my mother and father. Who is it?" And the Englishman ponders this for several minutes before finally giving up and asking "who is it". And the clerk reminds him - "it's not my brother, and it's not my sister, but it's the offspring of my mother and father - it's me!"

"Oh that is jolly good!" The Englishman says, and thanks him for his time. He's gotten a little bit sleepy by now so he heads up to his room.

After a week or whatever, he goes home, and a couple days after he gets home he's down at the pub and is chatting with one of his buddies about his trip. "Oh, I say," he says. "I heard a jolly good riddle when I was there. Would you like to hear it?"

"Why yes!"

"Okay," the Englishman says: "it's not my brother, and it's not my sister, but it's the offspring of my mother and father. Who is it?" And his friend similarly thinks a while before giving up and asking "who is it." "Why," says the Englishman, "it's the night clerk at the Hotel Statler!"

Thanks, Grandpa.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:35 PM on January 15 [37 favorites]


[rimshot.gif]
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:14 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


Whenever we get scammed, or something is fucked up, or things are non-ideal, I ask my wife:

"What did we learn?" and she answers,
"We learned not to do that again".

Optionally, when appropriate, I will also add "Fucked if I know what we did".
posted by Meatbomb at 10:23 PM on January 15 [9 favorites]


Real
Exiting
Love
Affair
Turns
Into
Outlandish
Nightmare
Sanity
Hangs
In
Peril
posted by dancestoblue at 10:51 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


My dad went through a brief Horatio Nelson enthusiasm from which the family adopted saying "Kiss me, Hardy" when we’d been knocked down. It was what you wheezed while getting your breath back.

Went over v odd the first time I said it to a non-naval-novel-enthusiast.
posted by clew at 12:18 AM on January 16 [5 favorites]


Looking back, a lot of my jokes have always been solidly in Dad Joke territory. I'm teaching our toddler phonics at the moment and keep switching up the answer to "aaaaand what sound does a B make?" from "buh" to "zzzzzzzz" She doesn't get it yet, and responds with a furious NO IT'S BUH. IT IS BUH!!! I'm looking forward to seeing her to progress from annoyed incomprehension, to amusement, to entirely over it eyerolling, though.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 1:57 AM on January 16 [5 favorites]


I mostly keep this in my head, since I know if I were to say them out loud, I’d probably just get blank looks, but from time to time, I murmur to myself one of these two lines, depending on what the situation calls for:

I do what I can, and I can what I do (so it’ll keep).
And

If wishes were fishes, you’d do the dishes.

Neither makes any sense, but here I am.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:50 AM on January 16 [3 favorites]


Whenever my SO says she's taking garden waste to the tip I remind her to get a new hat.
posted by biffa at 3:15 AM on January 16 [1 favorite]


I’m not close enough with anyone besides myself and MetaFilter to have inside jokes.

But I make a lot of jokes while talking to myself that are basically dad jokes.
posted by bendy at 4:58 AM on January 16 [1 favorite]


ActionPopulated: dried green mango balls

You can only get those from mangoes, not from womangoes... those don't have any balls.

Jon Mitchell: I'm teaching our toddler phonics at the moment and keep switching up the answer to "aaaaand what sound does a B make?" from "buh" to "zzzzzzzz"

When Stoneshop and I were together for a month or so, we were having a romantic moment and I looked deeply into his eyes and told him: 'I want to belong to you' (Ik wil bij je horen).
Of course he decided to hear that as 'I want to hear bees' (Ik wil bijen horen) and dutifully replied: 'Bzzz'.
posted by Too-Ticky at 5:02 AM on January 16 [30 favorites]


If we are at a restaurant which has a condiment that comes in a little pitcher on the table, whichever is the first of us to think of it picks it up and mimes it doing a little dance while humming "Be Our Guest" from "Beauty and the Beast". This started with a container of soy sauce at a sushi restaurant, but has since been extended to pancake syrup, coffee creamer, etc.

Once at an IHOP my son and I were reflecting on how there were four kinds of syrup on the table, none of which was real maple syrup, and what a travesty that is, and one of us said "There oughta be a law," which led to us positing an alternate world in which every restaurant that serves pancakes is required to have real maple syrup as a choice - this diktat would of course be enforced by... the Priests of the Temples of Syrup. ... maybe you had to be there. We slay ourselves, really.
posted by Daily Alice at 6:50 AM on January 16 [8 favorites]


When the kiddo was a teen going out with friends I always said "have fun.... (long beat) but not toooo much fun."
posted by sammyo at 7:20 AM on January 16


When friends would have us over for dinner when we left, if the opportunity arose, I'd always respond like this.

Friends: "We should do this again sometime."
Me: "Sure! How about tomorrow?"
or
Friends: "It was great having you."
Me: I enjoyed being had!"

Until my spouse made me stop.
posted by mono blanco at 7:26 AM on January 16 [3 favorites]


The discussion turned to rattlesnakes; Sandi Toksvig asked the panelists what they should do in the event of being bit by a rattlesnake.

Douglas Adams, having a chat wit Struan Sutherland about traveling to Komodo:
‘So what do we do if we get bitten by something deadly, then?’ I asked.
He blinked at me as if I were stupid.

‘Well what do you think you do?’ he said. ‘You die of course. That’s what deadly means.’
posted by Stoneshop at 7:45 AM on January 16 [16 favorites]


When somene says, "You got a haircut!" you must respond with, "I got them all cut!"

Did someone really post mine already???? I got it from my high school math teacher. But I only ever say it in my head.
posted by praemunire at 8:07 AM on January 16


I always say there's nothing like a good joke. And most of these are nothing like a good joke.

:)

(I don't even have kids and my jokes are still Dad jokes.)
posted by mark k at 9:14 AM on January 16 [1 favorite]


Years ago, a friend and I put a pretty frozen solid pint of Ben & Jerry's on the counter so it could soften enough to get a spoon in. One of us had tried, and we'd managed to jab a spoon partway in, with the ice cream maybe just halfway up the bowl of the spoon, with the rest of the spoon and handle standing straight up out of the container. We were chatting, waiting for the ice cream to give a little, when the spoon SPROINGED out of the ice cream, flipped end over end in an arc above us, and landed halfway across the kitchen. I don't think I've ever laughed that hard before or since. Now, whenever one of us has a bad day or something goes wrong, we say "The spoon has rejected you."

Another friend and I will continue to repeat after each other, loudly, if either of us falls into the trap of saying
"to be fair"
"TO BE FAAAAAIR"
"TO BEEE FAAAAYUH"
(Letterkenny reference)
and it will never not be funny.
posted by tzikeh at 9:42 AM on January 16 [11 favorites]


In my family, whenever anyone says "I've been thinking...", the correct response is "Did it hurt?"
posted by SuperSquirrel at 10:00 AM on January 16 [3 favorites]


Along those lines, "I'm trying to think but nothing's happening" comes out of my mouth fairly often.
posted by kingless at 10:17 AM on January 16 [5 favorites]


"There's pie on the counter if you want it.... there's pie on the counter if you don't want it."

My partner says that sort of thing instead of, "There's pie on the counter." Sigh.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:20 AM on January 16 [5 favorites]


Fun thread. I'm not sure sharing most of these from my marriage would be welcome by anyone. A random meow, followed by a quack and an attempt to emulate a duck pecking at someone's feet in order to express, "I don't know what to say, but I like you" isn't too embarrassing.

Ending any failed attempt to quote something specific with, "stood upon the burning deck," or "the lowing herd" is probably only entertaining to fans of trivia books from 1927 and people who died before my grandparents were born. I'm not sure it's entertaining even to all of those. But, I find myself doing it every few weeks with my spouse.

Last night I mentioned this thread and the unsubmitted comment to my spouse and we got into a long riff on random, goofy cutup 18th and 19th century schoolbook poem excursions which convinced me at least two of us genuinely enjoy it. "How doth the little busy bee, who stood upon the burning deck, whilst the lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea, under a spreading chestnut tree, shout "look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!" It's a fun game, for at least two living humans.

When I want to try to slightly annoy professional cosmologists at the end of a long collaboration meeting, I sometimes respond to the AOB opening with the question, "what did we decide about whether the k in kSZ should be "kinetic" or "kinematic." I know at least one person finds it an entertaining way to say, "why are we wasting time on this?" He always laughs. Nobody else does, at least in person.
posted by eotvos at 10:30 AM on January 16 [13 favorites]


Me as a child: Mom, where are the cotton balls?
Mom: Funny, I didn’t know cotton had balls.

Repeat for any kind of object marketed as [x] balls.


"So you know what mothballs smell like? … Wait, really, you do? … How do you get their little legs apart?"
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:03 AM on January 16 [7 favorites]


In my family, whenever anyone says "I've been thinking...", the correct response is "Did it hurt?"

Alternatively, "I thought I smelled something burning!"
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:25 AM on January 16 [2 favorites]


I like wilfull misunderstanding:

>When I want to try to slightly annoy professional cosmologists at the end of a long collaboration meeting, I sometimes respond to the AOB opening with the question
"...yet again we return to the question of adding a thirteenth sign to the zodiac, this time with sponsorship money from a website company owned by a Mr Zuckerberg."

(I know you're professional cosmesticians not at all to do with the star signs and...)
posted by k3ninho at 12:12 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


I love the old Tommy Cooper joke.

So I phoned up the builder and said "I wanna skip outside my house". He said "Well, I'm not stopping you."


(For non-UK MeFites, a skip is a dumpster.)
posted by essexjan at 12:12 PM on January 16 [4 favorites]


Whenever anyone compliments my hair I say "Thanks, I made it myself!"
posted by aubilenon at 12:16 PM on January 16 [7 favorites]


The repeated joke of mine that my family is most tired of is, whenever anyone says they have to go to the bathroom I say, "Well, I hope everything comes out ok."
posted by Stanczyk at 12:29 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


From my dad: "Buffalo wings? I didn't know the big hairy bastards could fly!"
Among so many others.

From so far in the past I no longer know where I picked it up, and which I can never seem to quit, is to respond to, "It's nice to meet you," with, "It's nice to be met."
posted by Mister Moofoo at 12:38 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


If somebody says they like my hat/shirt/shoes/etc, I say, "so do I."
posted by Mister Moofoo at 12:40 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


I have red hair. My parents don't. When I was a kid, strangers liked to approach me and ask me out of the blue where my red hair came from. The cute answer my parents taught me was to give a baffled look and say "Out of my head."

(I was much older when I realized this wasn't just for jokes, it was shutting down a rude question. The answer was "a recessive gene and two grandparents," but for all the asker knew it was "[sordid sexual history]" or "I'm adopted.")

Now I don't get asked where it came from, I just get "I love your hair," and the answer is definitely always "Thanks! Grew it myself!" I may not amuse anyone else, but I amuse myself.
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:50 PM on January 16 [13 favorites]


If somebody says they like my hat/shirt/shoes/etc,

I say "Thanks, I found it under a truck!" (which is a line I stole from David Letterman back in the 80's)
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:09 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


Breaking into a chorus of "and throw it the window, the window, the second story window..." is suitable to so many times and places that we have also been known to defenestrate the indefenestrable.
posted by away for regrooving at 3:16 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


We keep a box of old Trivial Pursuit cards in our car for road trips; I am the driver and answer the questions, my partner asks them. Once my mother-in-law was riding with us, so this happened:
Q: "What's the best way to pick up a rabbit?"
Silence, I'm just about to say "the ears" when my mother-in-law says in the guiltiest voice possible:
A: " Another rabbit?"
A window into the naughty mind of a little old lady.
posted by winesong at 3:22 PM on January 16 [14 favorites]


Breaking into a chorus of "and throw it the window, the window, the second story window..."

Likewise any chain of events involving more than two or three people/objects ends with "and the green grass grew all around all around…"
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:25 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


We have all sorts of family shorthand, the oddest of which is probably referring to Costco as "*ahem*"--a legacy of my mother's work with a big feral cat colony that required multiple trips there per week. ("So I went to *ahem* today and bought a few things." "What things, Mom?" "Er..." "Things in bags?" "And possibly also cans.")
posted by thomas j wise at 4:43 PM on January 16


I love the haircut (really most dad) joke though I kick it up a notch by saying it in a semi conspiral whisper "Would you believe I got them all cut?"

A group of cows is a flock

And we still say "Not in the Broccoli" when someone trips into /knocks over a stack of things.
posted by Mitheral at 6:02 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


It has been so long since I joked with anyone, and I wasn't that funny to begin with, looks don't count. I broke my funny bone in elementary school, and they sent me home with a note. My doctor didn't know what to make of it, and then it dissolved altogether, seemingly gone, but, my feet got wider. After that I had to import my humor, they used to keep some for me in a cheese shop near our home. I used my baby sitting money for laughs, and Edamer. I had a challenging childhood, my mother wouldn't let me wear hoisery until I moved out of the house, when I married. The cheese monger was beside himself to lose me as a client, well, it only appeared that way because he bad an identical twin. I moved to Duluth, Minnesota, and the humor came in off the Great Lakes, pretty rank, they kept it in fish barrels. Though I would by some in the Skandanavian shops near and during the Christmas holidays. These times are just not that funny, and with the covid inflation I just can't buy what I used to, I tried to borrow some off my neighbor this evening to post to this thread, I could hear him guffawing next door, so many hoots, guffaws, outright laughs, and he said that it would take a lot more than $.47 to buy some of his humor, because he'd had to buy some potent local to get where he was, since he ran out of his summer stash. I just can't seem to catch a break on the humor thing, and they stopped making the shoes I like. I hope this post isn't too long...
posted by Oyéah at 6:18 PM on January 16 [7 favorites]


Around here the debate is between "a murder of cows" (single-character error) and "a school of cows" (because it's Gary Larson funny).
posted by away for regrooving at 6:39 PM on January 16


We had a car full of friends on the way somewhere and stopped at a traffic light. A dune buggy full of shouting, shirtless men pulled up beside us, with tires higher than our corolla, and enormous exhaust pipes pouring out smoke. Husband took his time moving forward when the light changed, so the rednecks could get ahead of us and we could actually hear each other talk again.

I said to my husband "I wonder what he's compensating for." After some consideration, husband asked uncertainly, "His penis is too quiet?"

20 something years later this has spread to friends that weren't in t he car that day and even some that we met only after husband died. When some stranger is making a spectacle of themselves, one of us will sigh, shake their head, and then say sadly "His penis must be really quiet."
posted by buildmyworld at 6:42 PM on January 16 [43 favorites]


Do you know where I could purchase one of those dunebuggies full of shirtless sbouting men, maybe with a volume control knob, and a coin slot?
posted by Oyéah at 6:54 PM on January 16


buildmyworld, your husband sounds like a remarkable man. I am so sorry for your loss, however long ago it was.

I humbly ask your permission to honor his legacy by adopting his brilliant joke for my own use.
posted by armeowda at 6:59 PM on January 16 [3 favorites]


Any time someone in our household mentions that they "keep forgetting" to do something, we turn into the Michael McDonald song of the same title- so [sung] "I keep forgetting.... tooo take the garbage out" etc.

I don't usually tell jokes, it's not my preferred form of comedy, but the one that I can roughly pull off goes as follows:

A farmer is testifying in a accident injury case where a car crashed into his truck, which was pulling an animal trailer. The injured man is telling the jury about how much pain he is in, how severe his injuries are etc. The defense attorney says "This is nothing but a cash grab! Did or did not you state at the scene of the accident that you were just fine?" The injured man says "yes, but..." and the attorney cuts him off. He begins again "Look, I'm just trying to tell the story..." and the attorney cuts him off again and repeats "Just stick to the facts! Did or did not you state at the scene of the accident that you were just fine?" The injured man looks pleadingly at the judge, and finally the judge intervenes- "I'd like to hear the whole story. Why don't you tell the court what happened?" The injured man says "well, after the accident, there were animals scattered all over the road. It was awful. The officer pulled up in his squad car and got out. My old mare, Mabel, was in the ditch next to where he parked. She had three broken legs and was making a terrible moaning noise. The officer took out his gun, turned and shot her right in the head. She fell silent. He then started walking towards my truck. Right behind my truck, my prize pig Katie was squealing horribly and bleeding badly. He shot her, and she too fell silent. He then walked right up to my truck window, gun still in hand, and asked "Are you OK, sir?"
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 7:19 PM on January 16 [17 favorites]


Also, if anyone knows the origin of that joke, please let me know. I read it somewhere.
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 7:30 PM on January 16


My sister and I have so many in-jokes that our father actually cited them as one reason he was leaving the family. “You and your buzzwords and eye signals” were his exact words. To this day, “buzzwords and eye signals” is our code for someone acting like a complete paranoid ass.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:37 PM on January 16 [13 favorites]


That is a wonderful anecdote, The Underpants Monster; the thought of you and your sister giving each other bright-eyed and stealthy looks as your harried father drives himself crazy snapping his head back and forth trying to catch you at it, and sifting everything the two of you say for "buzzwords" will be an occasion for laughter into the indefinite future.
posted by jamjam at 10:12 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


Two foreign Legionaries are in the desert having been separate from their legion during a recent battle. They climb over many dunes and across the desert with no food or water under the hot sun for days. Finally using the last of their strength to climb up that final dune they come across a marketplace in the middle of the desert! They pause, reveling in the glory that they are saved, when one notices that the shops only seem to be serving custard. The one turns toward the other and says "do you see this?" to which the other replies "why yes' it is a trifle bazaar".
posted by Carillon at 11:38 PM on January 16 [4 favorites]


"Well, we'll feed you and fan you, and the thing's only set for a quart."

"Pig like that, you don't eat all at once."
posted by clew at 12:12 AM on January 17


My dad had a kind of resting frowny face. One time, when he had dragged us on a long driving vacation through the American west, he went into someplace—a visitor center, maybe?—while my mom, brother, and I waited in the car.

When he came back out, his normal cranky look was exacerbated by the bright sunshine, and he squint-frowned as he walked toward the car.

My mom said, "Another satisfied customer!"

And after that, we said that about him all the time for the rest of her life, every chance we got.
posted by Well I never at 1:39 AM on January 17 [9 favorites]


Me, at the kitchen counter: Would you like me to make you a cocktail?
Mrs Gotanda: Yes.
Me, hands thrust forward: Shazzam! You're a cocktail!

I also transform her into a sandwich from time to time.
posted by Gotanda at 2:30 AM on January 17 [3 favorites]


The correct response to “I’m thirsty” is “Nice to meet you! I’m Friday. Would you like to come over on Saturday? We could have a sundae.”
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 6:30 AM on January 17 [12 favorites]


A dialogue I traditionally had with a friend whenever we saw a police car while driving:

"Hey, what's a penny made out of?"

"Copper."

"What kind of copper?"

(both together at full volume) "DIRTY COPPER!!!"
posted by Pallas Athena at 6:33 AM on January 17 [2 favorites]


I _chronically_ label any Canadian citizen that might come up in conversation (generally on a point unrelated to their nationality.) Like, "DeadPoolCanadian. DrakeCanadian." It's not funny prima face, but over time I like to think it's getting traction. Or, more likely, it will turn into an anecdote like are being offered up here. But until then, "You know 'X'? You know where they're from?" is a reliable chortle. Pity chortle? Compassion chuckle?
posted by From Bklyn at 6:36 AM on January 17


The whole "one egg is un oeuf" thing is more of an inside yolk, surely?
posted by nubs at 7:38 AM on January 17 [3 favorites]


The one that’s been running through my head for the last 6 months for no discernible reason:

How is Coors light (or your shitty beer of choice) like
having sex in a canoe?


They’re both fucking close to water.
posted by Uncle at 8:26 AM on January 17 [2 favorites]


A friend was working at a coffee shop and overheard a customer in line telling their friend a joke:
"A pirate walks into a bar with a steering wheel attached to his crotch. The bartender says, 'Uh, there is a steering wheel attached to your crotch.'. To which the pirate replies, 'Yarrr, it's driving me nuts!'"
The friend erupts in laughter.
The next day, the friend returns and is telling the same joke to another person in line, barely able to hold it together laughing.
"A pirate walks into a bar with a steering wheel attached to his crotch. The bartender says, 'Uh, there is a steering wheel attached to your crotch.'. To which the pirate replies, 'Yarrr, it's driving me CRAZY!'"

Now our group of friends often just says, "It's driving me CRAZY!" to the confusion of all around us.
posted by TheCoug at 9:30 AM on January 17 [5 favorites]


My favorite family story along these lines is when I was a kid (maybe 9 or 10), we would frequently have canned fruit with dinner. Peaches, pears, applesauce - whatever. Bring on that heavy syrup, right?

Anyway, one night my mom told me I could pick the fruit for dinner. What responsibility! I opened the cabinet and proudly pulled out a can of fruit cocktail (sweaty with the possibility that the sole cherry would end up in my bowl). My dad stepped in and said "we should save that for when company comes over."

Friends, my parents have never, ever served fruit cocktail when having people over.

My mom rolled her eyes and got out the can opener and my brother and I stared at him and my dad said "What?" and thirty years later I bought him an industrial size can of fruit cocktail from Costco and I've never seen him laugh harder.
posted by Twicketface at 9:54 AM on January 17 [8 favorites]


Oyéah: Santee, California. While we were driving around aimlessly just to be in an air-conditioned car at the height of lockdown last summer, we passed through Santee and saw a jacked-up pickup full of shouting maskless men (beshirted this time) with an American flag larger than the truck bed trailing behind and racist slogans scrawled all over the truck. Since they were headed the opposite direction we couldn't tell what they were shouting but really didn't care.

armeowda: Go for it, he would love to be repeated. He was so good at that confused, I-don't-know-what-I'm-saying tone, up until he'd crack up. Back in the nineties when we got daily spam phone calls for house improvements, he once answered the phone, listened patiently for a while, and then said in his most puzzled tone. "I'm sorry, we don't have any exterior. We have two interiors." and then hung up. I hope that call center employee still thinks of that call and wonders. He also once kept a JW talking in our doorway for nearly an hour, and came back and told me that the guy had been unable to prove the existence of God to his satisfaction, and I still regret not having been in the room to listen to him twist the poor guy's mind. I'm pretty sure he was using D&D cosmology from what little I overheard.
posted by buildmyworld at 11:35 AM on January 17 [7 favorites]


From so far in the past I no longer know where I picked it up, and which I can never seem to quit, is to respond to, "It's nice to meet you," with, "It's nice to be met."

You are not alone: I have this sort of thing in the back of my mind as well. "It's good to see you." "Yeah, I am good to see."

Closely related, if someone sends their regards to an absent party by saying, "Say hello to your wife," I often respond, "I usually do."

The counterpart to this was once I was at my mother's house when she was out and took a call for her. It was some business calling with some questions which I was unable to answer, so I asked the caller to call again after four P.M. or whatever.

When they called back and reached her, they began with, "I was speaking with your husband earlier today..." My mom, thirty years divorced, said, "Oh? How is he?"

If somebody says they like my hat/shirt/shoes/etc, I say, "so do I."

My boss many years ago was laying out plans for some renovations to the building. "... and in the second floor washroom, we're replacing the toilet." "Really? With what?" When he confusedly told me it was just another toilet, I expressed my disappointment.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:47 AM on January 17 [7 favorites]


"Did you fill out the webform?"

Fifteen years ago, my long-disused bike and a bunch of other stuff was stolen out of our garage. el_lupino called the usual organization that is called in cases like this. Unsurprisingly, it was clear this was not a priority for them. They directed him to fill out a form on a website. This, apparently, allowed them to get to ignoring the theft much faster.

Some days later, a representative of the organization called el_lupino back and asked if the property had been recovered. He replied that it had not. The representative asked if he had reported the crime, using the sentence above.

The ghost of Kafka having suddenly materialized nearby, el_lupino pointed out that the reason the representative had the information to call him was that he had filled out the webform. Ever since, we've responded to many things - life's absurdities, completely uncontrollable circumstances, quotidian inconveniences, each others' household chore shortcomings, our cat's regular demands - with the above.
posted by jocelmeow at 12:09 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


armeowda re nice sandwiches: We had picked up sandwiches at subway. Husband set his down on the table, unwrapped the paper, and then went to fetch beverages for us while I went off to the bathroom. As I was coming back I heard him yelling "Hey!" and when I turned the corner he was pointing at our Pomeranian, who had grabbed the paper and pulled the sandwich down so it scattered all over the chair and floor. Rom was 'sneakily' dragging away the meat, and husband said with abject sorrow "we just can't have nice sandwiches". This is now the universal response to any food or beverage mishap, no matter that the actual food stuff was.
posted by buildmyworld at 12:12 PM on January 17 [3 favorites]


The ghost of Kafka having suddenly materialized nearby, el_lupino pointed out that the reason the representative had the information to call him was that he had filled out the webform.

A decade ago I was on an airline website attempting to print out my ticket and boarding pass for a flight the next day. Each time I attempted to do so, I found myself with a printed page that had only a single line: the url and nothing else. I called the airline website support line and after I explained the problem, the first two questions I was asked was whether or not the printer was plugged in and if there was ink in the printer.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:31 PM on January 17 [4 favorites]


We, the unwilling,
Led by the unqualified,
Have been doing the unthinkable
(With so little)
For so long,
That we now do the impossible with nothing


There's a song that starts with a version of this thing, and I can't quite remember which song it is.
posted by box at 2:54 PM on January 17


Five minutes later, it's Doug E Fresh.
posted by box at 2:59 PM on January 17




Entirely for my own entertainment, I decided to check whether my dumb "joke" about the Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect above actually makes sense to anbody I don't know personally. It seems that it may continue to be no less funny for a while, if books published before 2019 are any indication.

I'm now curious about other cases of an acronym that everyone agrees to use for a thing that everyone understands, but about which knowledgeable people disagree about which words actually make up the acronym. I'm having trouble thinking of any.
posted by eotvos at 3:46 PM on January 17


Honestly can't remember where I stole this one from, but I always found 'bless you' a bit off putting in response to a sneeze, so now I consistently say "Hail, Sneezer!" instead, often in a louche manner reminiscent of the Romans in Life of Brian.
posted by Marticus at 5:04 PM on January 17 [14 favorites]


Responding to "I love your [clothing item/accessory]" with "It loves you too"
posted by Pallas Athena at 5:10 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]


Last month my dad introduced me to a friend of his. The friend said cheerfully, “oh, I see the resemblance!” then under his breath “… god bless you …”
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 5:24 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]


I'm now curious about other cases of an acronym that everyone agrees to use for a thing that everyone understands, but about which knowledgeable people disagree about which words actually make up the acronym. I'm having trouble thinking of any.

It often depends on your audience -- for example, the F in SNAFU will mean different things to dockworkers than it will to your aunt's bible study group.

Orthogonal to this, I am working right now on writing a standard for ISO, which is the International Organization for Standardization. The quasiacronym ISO does not match the name in any of the three languages the organization works in, but is instead derived from the Greek ίσος ("isos"), meaning "equal." And oddly, the standard itself uses a widely recognized acronym, which the work group is tragically enthusiastic about replacing one of the words to make it an acronym for something different and more confusing.

And this is not quite the same thing, but UTC (the global primary time standard) stands for... nothing at all, really. The creators wanted the same abbreviation in all languages: English speakers pushed for CUT (for "coordinated universal time"), while French speakers wanted TUC (for "temps universel coordonné"). UTC is true compromise, in that no one got what they wanted.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:46 PM on January 17 [10 favorites]


I just kind of like the ones where people DON'T agree on what the acronym stands for but they can't believe it stands for something else and/or don't check the hashtags before tweeting about it. Examples: CBT, BBW, FFA.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:04 PM on January 17 [3 favorites]


coordinated ball time
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:14 PM on January 17


CBT is the one that gets me all the time because my first exposure was the decidedly NSFW expansion and I always end up doing a screeching stop spit take when I see it casually dropped in SFW environments.

the F in SNAFU will mean different things to dockworkers than it will to your aunt's bible study group.

What does it mean to bible study groups? I ask because I've seen people get put on the spot for marking equipment NFG and I'd love to come to their rescue. [Marking defective equipment N/G isn't nearly as satisfying.]
posted by Mitheral at 6:20 PM on January 17


"Fouled," in my experience, which sadly doesn't help with NFG
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:22 PM on January 17


“Fouled” indeed.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:45 PM on January 17


Situation Normal, All Fungible, Uvcourse
posted by aubilenon at 6:48 PM on January 17 [4 favorites]


Oh, NFG stands for “non-functioning garbage.”
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 7:17 PM on January 17 [5 favorites]


When I was shopping for groceries with my first girlfriend at a King Soopers (the very one which is now about to reopen after a mass shooting) I picked up a box of pretzels and put it in the cart with the remark that "I’m a pret for these nutzels", with no awareness I was saying anything out of the ordinary, and she fell out laughing.

Six months later on my birthday I unwrapped a present and there was a box of Nutzels, which had been introduced in the interim though I hadn’t noticed, and she fell out laughing again, and so did I. And then on my next birthday, to my surprise there they were even though they'd failed as a product many months before that and hadn’t been manufactured for some time. But that was it because she’d only bought two boxes — but she hadn't told me that, so I was able to say "where are my Nutzels??" on my next birthday after that, and we had one last laugh about the Nutzels.
posted by jamjam at 11:33 PM on January 17 [6 favorites]


Well this one isn’t timeworn — but I just now realized why my cat is so socially awkward. It’s ‘cause of ‘er fo’ paws!
posted by aubilenon at 12:33 AM on January 18 [1 favorite]


┏━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━┓
┃                ┃
┃                ┃
┃                ┃
┃                ┃
┃                ┃
┃                ┃
┃                ┃
┗━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━┛
this square
has a hidden fifth side
that you will only see
if you stare at it
for a very long time

posted by flabdablet at 4:46 AM on January 18


I always end up doing a screeching stop spit take when I see it casually dropped in SFW environments.

Yeah. Fucken SFW snowflakes, ruining free speech.
posted by flabdablet at 4:53 AM on January 18


Back in the 70s, my mum was looking after an elderly relative while his wife was in hospital. She checked in on him a couple of times a day and cooked him meals. Times were fairly tight, and she was in the habit of mincing up whatever was left of the Sunday roast, adding some breadcrumbs, chopped onion and sage, and making rissoles for dinner the next night. She cooked some for him once, and he enjoyed them very much.

After his wife was out of the hospital and recovered, they came round for a visit, and he remarked with great enthusiasm on how much he'd enjoyed "them arseholes". To this day, rissoles are arseholes to our family.
posted by pipeski at 5:53 AM on January 18 [4 favorites]


"Have that removed."

- John Laroquette, in "Stripes"
posted by wenestvedt at 6:54 AM on January 18 [2 favorites]


Here's another one I've been doing for decades. When I meet someone tan.

"Wow, are you tan from the sun?"
"Yes!"
"Nice to meet you! [offer handshake] I'm Mono from the Earth."
posted by mono blanco at 7:08 AM on January 18 [2 favorites]


When sitting together on the couch, a member of our family will say, "Hold on a second, I have to pee." [PAUSE FOR A FEW SECONDS.] "Okay, I'm done."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:10 AM on January 18 [5 favorites]


Another tragic instance of a family whose values have been destroyed by those dirty rotten scoundrels in Hollywood.
posted by flabdablet at 8:33 AM on January 18 [2 favorites]


My then-girlfriend (now wife) and I took our first road trip together from LA to San Francisco. On the drive back, she insisted we stop at the Winchester Mystery House.

While waiting for our appointed tour time, we were strolling the grounds and gardens, and were walking near-ish to a multi-generational family. The youngest seemed a little starved for attention, and said

"This is a big house."

No response from anyone else.

"This is a big house!"

Still quiet.

"THIS IS A BIG-ASS HOUSE!"

Grandma finally responded, "Sure is!"

So for the last 15 years, "This is a Big-Ass XXX" is always responded to with "Sure is!"
posted by hwyengr at 9:05 AM on January 18 [4 favorites]


Arra pipeski I have that same joke, framed a bit differently, from my naval Dad, who told it to my sister and me when we were tweens and he had two glasses of chianti with lunch; which crumbled his rather prim sense of propriety.
War-time, Rationing, Blackout . . .
After much drink while on leave in London, two Naval Officers needing some solid sustenance find themselves in a cheap restaurant. One of them winks at his pal, points to the ill-typed menu and says to the waitress:
“I don’t know about my friend here, but I’ll have an order of these Pissoles”.
His companion interjects: “No, no, Rodney, I think you’ll find that’s an ‘R’.”
“In that case, I’ll have an order of Arsoles, miss”

I can tell you that soda came out my nose. The Da spent the next 30 years denying that he'd ever been in an Italian restaurant with his children.
posted by BobTheScientist at 9:21 AM on January 18 [3 favorites]


Whenever we get lost or take a wrong turn, we simply say, "We had too much gas anyway."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:36 AM on January 18 [12 favorites]


Running out of gas is like shitting your pants. A thing you live in fear of, but that never seems to actually happen. Until one day, it does.
posted by thelonius at 12:20 PM on January 18 [2 favorites]


I've told this one here before but it's one of my favorite in-things between Mrs. Wreckage and me so: Several years ago we were doing some work with my mother-in-law in her garden and when we were getting started she said I should go out to the shed and open it up to start getting the tools out. There's a lock on the shed but she said I wouldn't need the key because if you pulled a pin on the bottom and opened both doors at the same time they'd be free without taking the lock off the latch. The lock is just a "fox paw" to keep people out. My wife and I were both confused but went with it. We finally had to ask and after way too much discussion it turned out she meant 'faux pas' though faux pas doesn't mean anything close to how she was using it. We also wonder why faux turned into fox but pas didn't turn into pass or paws.

Since then we often refer to things that either don't do anything at all or don't do what they claim to are a "fox paw."
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 12:25 PM on January 18 [5 favorites]


Did she mis-remember the term "cat's paw" for a sort of puppet or feint?
posted by wenestvedt at 12:31 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]


Well, the faux part was right, because that means “false.”
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:49 PM on January 18


I think I told this story elsewhere here, but I think it's our favorite in-joke:

I was sick in bed and just didn't feel up to doing a small thing that would make me feel better (I can't remember what it was, but something akin to closing a curtain or turning on a light), so I said to Mrs. dlugoczaj "Would you do something stupid for me?"

She said "Okay!" and promptly thumbed her nose, crossed her eyes, gave a raspberry, and stood on one foot.

We both LOST IT. And we still lose it if one of us asks for something stupid, which happens fairly often.
posted by dlugoczaj at 1:57 PM on January 18 [14 favorites]


Tig Nataro is currently on tour and I attended one of her performances and she told this joke that I could really relate to about having trouble hearing things.

She and her wife had a meeting with Reese Witherspoon about a project they were working on and Reese told her about working on Big Little Lies and how she was easily the smallest member of the cast. She then went on to list everyone’s hight saying she’s 5'6", Nicole is 6', Laura is 5' 10", and Shailene's 5' 8". To which Tig replied, Oh, I knew a woman who was 5' 9" and she was always hunched over. She said everyone in the room just looked at her like she had lost her mind. It was later she learned that Shailene was a cast member and Reese didn’t say that Laura is 5' 10" and she leans 5' 8".
posted by Stanczyk at 2:42 PM on January 18 [2 favorites]


Once upon a time, a guest spilled a drink on the couch and FREAKED.OUT. about it, which is hilarious if you've seen how we lived at the time (i.e. messy.) So my mom, to reassure her, yells out "OH NO! Call House Beautiful and cancel the shoot!!!"

So of course every time we spill something...
posted by blnkfrnk at 2:53 PM on January 18 [14 favorites]


I am a packrat/magpie for these sorts of things, stealing from every sort of media (movies/tv shows/comedy albums) - to the point where my high school friends demanded I footnote my conversations. (Despairingly saying things like "Is that another Arlo Guthrie reference?")

It seemed to be a trait from Mom, who was a little more discerning.

Mom: (surveying my messy tiny room) : "Ah, a trip down Memory Sewer." - taken from an Odd Couple episode where Oscar's ex-wife was going to talk with him in his bedroom

But Mom's own native smart-assery was always good for new stuff:

(after the resolution of tense family moments) "Well, I've had enough fun and family interaction for one day."

Me: "C'est la vie."
Mom: "La vie."

There were a couple catch-phrases that we both picked up from her asshole second husband.

(as we're leaving)
"We're off."
"We sure are."

(After a tense discussion of consequences.)
"And then how will you get home?" (from an anecdote of his where a stressed mother lost it at her tantrum-throwing child: 'I'm gonna rip out your heart and stamp on it, and then how will you get home?')

Mom will still whip new ones on me to this day:

Me: "I have questions."
Mom: "Well, I have answers. Let's see if they match up."
posted by Mutant Lobsters from Riverhead at 3:41 PM on January 18 [8 favorites]


One joke that made me laugh out loud was made by I believe Jay Leno during the 1996 presidential campaign:

If Bill Clinton wears briefs and Rush Limbaugh wears Boxers, what does Bob Dole wear?

Depends!


Which has the added beauty of being infinitely capable of endless variations in this prepostTrump era:

If Blah Blah wears Manties and Woof Woof wears self-wedging Underalls, what does Donald Trump wear?

Depends!


And the added bonus is that is a fake true meme already cast upon the wine dark web. And kids can try it at home.
posted by y2karl at 3:44 PM on January 18


"Hey, MLfR, can you give us some more color on this situation?"
"Charcoal."
posted by Mutant Lobsters from Riverhead at 3:55 PM on January 18


My husband and I were once on a bus with a very particular group of people where one woman, under the influence, was telling a loud story and she said "Something smells fishy in Denmark, as the saying goes," really. emphatically.

We realized she was misquoting "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." But we've adopted her phrase for basically any fake conspiracy theory. "Bill Gates is implanting microchips through vaccines" "Oh yeah, something smells fishy in Denmark as the saying goes!"
posted by warriorqueen at 3:56 PM on January 18 [9 favorites]


Here's a few more of my oldies you can haul out as needed.

[In answer to "what'll we do if " questions] "We'll jump off that bridge when we come to it."
[When someone does you a tiny favor] "Thanks a hundred."
[Performing an easy task] "It's a piece of pie."
posted by mono blanco at 7:05 PM on January 18




Okay so this is extremely specific but:

In the TV show "Newsroom" there's a pretty well-known monologue by Jeff Daniels, I think from the first episode, where he's going on a rant about America and how it is not the 'greatest country in the world'. You can watch it here if you want to.

Anyways, at one point in the rant, he says something to the effect of:

"So when you say that America is the greatest country in the world, I don't know what the fuck you're talking about.....Yosemite?

He puts a lot of stank on the word yosemite.

Okay. That's the first part.

Second part: On the apple tv that my wife and I have, there's screen savers that are these gorgeous aerial shots of various things. I have the wilderness one turned on all the time. When you slightly touch the apple tv remote, it will show you where the scene is from. There are many that are from Yosemite.

So one of my spouse and I's favorite jokes is that whenever the apple tv is on screen saver and a nature scene is playing, I will deliver the "Yosemite?" line in an extra angry sounding voice. This is endlessly hilarious to us for some reason, I'm not totally sure why. Maybe because we both are pretty conflict averse and sound sensitive so we don't really ever fight or yell or anything so it's kinda jarring but also safe and just really funny for some reason.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:02 AM on January 19 [6 favorites]


My daughter keeps trying to pretend she is a cat and a mermaid at the same time I call this meowmaid and I am delighted to say this word as much as possible.

I may be encouraging the meowmaid in the house.
posted by AlexiaSky at 8:16 AM on January 19 [7 favorites]


At work: "There are two hard problems in computer science: naming things, cache invalidation, and off-by-one errors."

Repeat whenever something has an inane or unintuitive name or a situation involves one of the other two hard problems in computer science, or until all of your coworkers are very tired of this joke.
posted by All Might Be Well at 9:21 AM on January 19 [6 favorites]


One afternoon during a long road trip:

Me: Ask me if I'm a jeep.

Sigoth: Oh crap, not again.

Me: C'mon, ask me if I'm a jeep.

Sigoth: Oh, very well. Are you a jeep?

Me: Yes.

Sigoth rolls her eyes, looks out the passenger side window.

A few minutes transpire.

Me: Ask me if I'm a helicopter.

Sigoth: How about we turn on the radio?

Me: C'mon. Ask me if I'm a helicopter.

Sigoth: (mutters under her breath) Okay fine. Are you a goddam helicopter?

Me: No. I'm a jeep. (I laugh amiably) Sigoth mutters, looks out the passenger window.

Some time transpires.

Me: Ask me if I'm a jeep.

Sigoth: Are we there yet?

Me: Aw, C'mon. Just this last time. Ask me if I'm a jeep.

Sigoth: Okay. Fine. Are you a fucking jeep?

Me: Yes. I lied about being a helicopter.
posted by mule98J at 10:15 AM on January 19 [4 favorites]


Depending on the source, Richard Nixon made a comment when visiting the Great Wall of China, that went something like:
"I think that you would have to conclude that this is a great wall"
"This is a great wall''
"What a great wall.”
"It is indeed a great wall."
I misremember it as:
"It truly is a great wall"
So now (sometimes) when I am supposed to react or give my impression on something (and if I am feeling particularly cranky), or I want to seem neutral, or unimpressed, bored, 'funny' or just don't want to answer; I respond with the same dry, dull, uninspired phrase; with the image of RN standing in front of the Great Wall of China, his Chinese hosts waiting for his impression of one of the wonders of the world:

How was the movie? It truly was a movie.
Did you enjoy your dinner? It truly was a dinner.
How was your trip to Italy? It truly was Italian.
What is your impression of this painting? It truly is a painting.
Isn't our baby beautiful? It truly is a baby.

I guess it's my version of 'Bless your heart'.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 11:05 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]


When someone says, "You got a haircut!"

...look at them with your most suspicious face and ask, "Who told you that?"
posted by straight at 11:08 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]


When we were kids, my dad told a joke about star-crossed lovers who lived on opposite sides of a lake and one night the boy decided to swim across to see his beloved. He got 3/4 the way across but got too tired and turned back. He drowned. The people on both sides were moved to name the lake after the boy and to this day it is still known as Lake Stupid.

At some later family dinner, one of us eagerly asked my dad to tell everyone the joke about Lake Stupid. And he made a great show of smacking himself in the forehead at us for missing the point of how jokes work.

And from then on we would frequently bait him by asking him to tell the joke about Lake Stupid so he could pretend to be exasperated at us.
posted by straight at 11:18 AM on January 19 [5 favorites]


He also told this one:

An Englishman visiting America was told this joke: A girl sat on a porch. A man walked by. He said hi, she said hi, and he walked on. A guy riding a horse passed by. He said hi, she said hi, and he rode on. A man on a bicycle came along. He said hi, she said hi, and he rode on. Which of the three men already knew the girl?

"The horseman knew her!"

The Englishman returns home and tells his friend the joke he heard in America: A young lady sat on a porch. A pedestrian passed by, greeted her, and continued on. An equestrian passed by, greeted her, and continued on. A cyclist passed by, greeted her, and continued on. Now which of the three men was already acquainted with the young lady?

His friend shrugged and the Englishman said, "I don't know either, but the answer is horse poop."
posted by straight at 11:38 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]


My warnings about the dangers of reckless Q-Tip usage fell on deaf ears.
posted by notoriety public at 12:31 PM on January 19 [3 favorites]


How was the movie? It truly was a movie.

In somewhat the same vein, if I don't feel like discussing [thing] with a specific person, this is the exchange, followed by a quick redirect to another subject:

Them: How was [thing]?
Me: [thing]-y. (or -ish, if [thing] ends with "y" or "ie")

Example: "How was lunch?" "Lunch-y. Say, about that TPS report..."
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:01 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


Two sayings / responses I got from my dad:

- [question that invites a "hell yes" response]
- "Does Howdy Doody have wooden balls?"

- [something smells really bad]
- "That could knock a buzzard off a shit wagon!"
posted by jzb at 2:11 PM on January 19


Every time we would drive by a cemetery, my dad would point it out and say, "Popular place. People are dying to get in there."
When I had young kids, I continued the tradition.
Now I just do it to annoy my wife.

I say 'this is the dead centre of town'
I used to do this to annoy my kids, now I just do it to annoy my wife.
posted by dg at 2:52 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


My now-ex and I used to refer to things that happened (or did not happen) in the past as, "Back in 'Nam ..." We were both born during the Vietnam war and neither of us were in the military.
posted by Occula at 2:59 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


Every time we would drive by a cemetery, my dad would point it out and say, "Popular place. People are dying to get in there."
When I had young kids, I continued the tradition.
Now I just do it to annoy my wife.
I say 'this is the dead centre of town'
I used to do this to annoy my kids, now I just do it to annoy my wife.


Corollary:
How many people do you suppose are lying dead in that cemetery?
All of them!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:00 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


Popular place. People are dying to get in there."
I say 'this is the dead centre of town'

Dad: Y'know, people who live around here aren't allowed to be buried in this cemetery.
Long-suffering family member: Why not?
Dad: Because they're still alive!
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:15 PM on January 19 [7 favorites]


Alexia Sky - unsure if this t-shirt I just encountered would be of interest to you.

https://www.teeturtle.com/products/meowmaid?variant=19577791450073
posted by Mutant Lobsters from Riverhead at 3:18 PM on January 19


SCHMOOP WARNING

1) Before each Online Scrabble™ game, my sweetie and I exchange goofy "Good Luck" wishes based on an aspect of the day but twisted around a little. To make up an example from no real incident: "GOOD LUCK YARD SALE UNDERCOVER SECURITY DETAIL!"

1a) Whenever during the ensuing game, one of us takes the other's planned space on the board, the one who was robbed yells, "MYSPACE!".

2) All our emails to each other are labeled with a subject line that references some far-out new type of pajamas, along with its marketing slogan. The next one in reply slightly changes the first one's pajama reference to create an entirely new kind of far-out pajama for the next subject line of their email. E.g.:

• FrostedFlakesJammas™ – They're GGGRRRRRRrzzzzzz...z...

...followed by:

• FrazzledFrakesJammas™ – For your nervous Number One... so you can take the bridge while they rest

...ad infinitum
posted by not_on_display at 5:36 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


In mixed company, a friend of mine told the tale of a confusing computer bug. It was a convoluted story, and he concluded with, "It turns out, the variable was typed as boolean!" Which completely destroyed 1) him, 2) me, and 3) our friend Lee. The other six people in the room just stared at us.

So whenever somebody tells a technical joke that nobody gets, we say, "It turns out, the variable was typed as boolean!"

Whenever we get lost or take a wrong turn, we simply say, "We had too much gas anyway."


We always say, "Just a chance to see more of the beautiful greater ___________ metropolitan area!" (Fill in the blank with the nearest small town.)
posted by BrashTech at 5:46 PM on January 19 [9 favorites]


All our emails to each other are labeled with a subject line that references some far-out new type of pajamas

I just checked and we've been doing this since 2013. We email each other daily. Gosh this is so weird. It all started because my sister's lousy ex (you have to shake your fist and yell "Ned!!!" at the sky when you mention him) and her had a little song for when you put your pajamas on (before bed, or any time of the day) which was called "JammaTime!" They split up in 2013.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:56 PM on January 19 [3 favorites]


I cannot remember who inflicted this on me, but whenever in a public bathroom with more than one urinal, in my mind I hear the comment again: "So, this is where all the dicks hang out!"
every. single. time.
posted by coppertop at 7:49 PM on January 19 [3 favorites]


I heard that one when I was a teen, so no doubt it's been in general circulation for ages.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:02 PM on January 19


On our first date, we went to Wal-Mart, because it was the only place in town open. So we're two college students boredly wandering around at like 1AM in a small-town Wal-Mart.

There's a furniture section which included office furniture: desks, file cabinets, and office chairs. Being eager to impress my date with my whimsical side, I grab an office chair and do a running leap to get it rolling down the aisle.

He wasn't so much impressed by my whimsy, because he was thinking, "Surely she'll realize it's chained to the wall." (The chair was, in fact, tethered with a steel cable to the display shelf, a fact I only realized after landing on my back several feet away as the chair snapped against the tether and I went flying in a dramatic aerial front roll.)

To this day, we'll occasionally say to each other, "surely she'll realize it's chained to the wall" when I'm about to/have just done something stupid and impulsive.
posted by daisystomper at 8:08 PM on January 19 [14 favorites]


My now-ex and I used to refer to things that happened (or did not happen) in the past as, "Back in 'Nam ..." We were both born during the Vietnam war and neither of us were in the military.

I had a girlfriend a few years ago (still one of my closest friends). When our large circle of friends found out we'd gotten together, one of them said, "But how do the two of you stop talking long enough to have sex?" and we both cracked up because we almost didn't manage it our first night together. We wanted to have sex, we embarked on it several times, but we just had so much to talk about.

Both of have a large repertoire of stories about our lives, which we tell well. Of course, with all the talking we were doing, it was inevitable that we would repeat ourselves, so we decided that if one of us got caught re-telling a story, we had to start over but set it during the Industrial Revolution.

You and your ex probably did the same thing, back in 'Nam.
posted by Well I never at 11:53 PM on January 19 [12 favorites]


Whenever something not that great or just meh happens (think had to get your second favorite donut since they were out over your top choice) someone in our family will say , "Well it's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick," and everyone chuckles.

Also have a friend where if there is a lull in the conversation or someone shares some really blad quotidian thing the other will pipe up with, " I squished a bug yesterday."
posted by brookeb at 5:34 AM on January 20 [2 favorites]


Also, once when the small person was quiet small and prone to throwing tantrums when told they would have to get the ketchup out of the fridge, I interrupted the whine to provide a little coaching, The whine needs to be more pitched, draw it out longer, perhaps collapse on the floor and cry out , 'How can you expect me to carry on in these conditions!?!'".

Now whenever someone (adult or child) is mildly upset about something someone else will say, "I don't know how you can carry on in these conditions," and shake their head

Note the above was a very successful tantrum redirect technique that resulted in a ton of laughter.
posted by brookeb at 5:55 AM on January 20 [5 favorites]


Back in the day I was the literary manager for a theater company helmed by my friend C (he'd founded it before we met, I was a later addition and ended up being the only consistent company member for the next 10 years).

It was often just the two of us in this teeny office and sometimes, especially when it was judging time for our playwriting contest, we got a bit punchy; one time, I mis-spoke when I was attempting to introduce myself to someone who dropped by and called myself the company's "Literary Manatee", and of course that nickname stuck. And on another occasion, when C was being a little annoying, I warned him by quoting the Happy Fun Ball skit from SNL: "Do not taunt Happy Fun EC." Which of course made us both giggle.

And so, shortly thereafter, I changed the screensaver on my computer to be a scrolling message: "Do Not Taunt The Literary Manatee." We would amuse ourselves when we had new guests to see how long it took between them noticing it, and them finally breaking down and asking "uh....what's that mean?"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:48 AM on January 20


"Well it's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick"

A friend once mis-spoke this as "a sharp in the eye with a poke stick", and thereafter we said it that way.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:57 AM on January 20 [2 favorites]


Can it really be almost ten years since I fell completely in love with running around with a chicken and your head cut off?
posted by flabdablet at 11:51 PM on January 20 [2 favorites]


put it in the cart with the remark that "I’m a pret for these nutzels"

I thought the resolution was going somewhere else, as “ready” in French is “prêt“.

It put me in mind of James Acaster’s observation on the phrase “you are what you eat.” He mentioned that he had bought some ready-to-eat apricots and he was now indeed ready to eat apricots.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:16 AM on January 21


running around with a chicken and your head cut off

My friend's version was "like a head with its chicken cut off".
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:00 AM on January 21


We always say, "Just a chance to see more of the beautiful greater ___________ metropolitan area!" (Fill in the blank with the nearest small town.)

We say, with great enthusiasm: "Never been in this part of _______ before!"
posted by Well I never at 1:15 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


Louise would say, "Well, you've buttered your bread, and now you have to lie on it!"
For those of you born after the turn of the last century, it was a combination of two very old sayings. "You've buttered your bread, and now you have to eat it." "You've made your bed, and now you have to lie on it."
posted by Oyéah at 3:05 PM on January 21


This was an in joke for a high school friend's family, not mine, but Serpentine!

When I saw The In-Laws, I was still laughing about this scene the next day. Mentioned it to a friend and she said in parking lots her mother would yell "Serpentine!" when they got close the car and the kids would dutifully start zig-zagging in random directions.
posted by mark k at 3:15 PM on January 21 [4 favorites]


My grandma would behead a chicken for Sunday dinner. The chicken would run around with it's head cut off for a few yards. Then the reflexes would stop, and it was easier to clean, and de-feather. That is where the phrase came from.
posted by Oyéah at 3:26 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


Oyéah, it's not just your grandma, chickens'll do that for anyone
posted by aubilenon at 5:47 PM on January 21 [10 favorites]


No, I like the implication that Oyéah's grandmother is responsible for the phrase.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:58 PM on January 21 [8 favorites]


Running around like a chicken with it's head cut off, is an observation from rural life. A lot of folks have not witnessed this. It didn't come from my family, I made no claims to the effect! But, I seen it once...
posted by Oyéah at 6:03 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


Running around like a chicken with it's head cut off, is an observation from rural life.

Running around with a chicken and your head cut off, less so.
posted by flabdablet at 7:43 PM on January 21 [2 favorites]


Speak for yourself, bucko
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:47 PM on January 21


(I can't speak because my head's been cut off)
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:48 PM on January 21


(And I tell you, I've never looked back!)
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:48 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


That was your mistake, then. The way you're supposed to avoid looking is out.
posted by flabdablet at 8:32 PM on January 21


I wish someone had told me that before my head got cut off. Ah well, hindsight....
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:05 PM on January 21


> > We always say, "Just a chance to see more of the beautiful greater ___________ metropolitan area!" (Fill in the blank with the nearest small town.)

> We say, with great enthusiasm: "Never been in this part of _______ before!"


CARS!
"....wait... did that sign say 'Welcome to Connecticut'?!" (That's one of mine, has nothing to do with my sweetie.)

These aren't jokes, per-se, but kinda funny-rituals by now:

When I run a yellow-close-to-being-red light, I often kiss my fingertips and then touch the ceiling of the car. It's like giving respect to the Torah.

Another I share with my sweetie: if we see someone about to pull out in traffic in front of us, we hiss and give them the devil horns (under the dashboard) as a spell to keep them from advancing. We picked this up from my friend Boris.

And another: my sweety will ask me, "Are you actually reading the signs and storefronts out to me as we drive by them?" Yes. Yes, I am. Aaaay Payless Shoe Store!

I am sure there are dozens of "Car-context jokes" I am not recalling, but these are like some of the glue that holds life together and gives it context. Yes, I have a tendency to space out and read signs aloud. We're both good drivers who think everyone else on the road is a potential fucko—and we don't believe in magic, but it gives a fun tinge to real anxieties while you are operating a very heavy machine at great speeds on treacherous roadways or unfamiliar towns. Just like that jackass who always tailgates my sweetie. There's always one; it's uncanny.
posted by not_on_display at 9:40 PM on January 21 [2 favorites]


One that is commentary about how I never look where I am walking, and also about the state of the sidewalks where I live: "Did you see that one, it reached out and grabbed my foot!"
posted by not_on_display at 9:42 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


Years ago, my husband and I (newly engaged) were riding in the back of a car driven by his stepmom, Bev. She was trying to follow the car in front of her, driven by her niece. See, we were visiting her niece’s city and we didn’t know the way around. Niece kept running through stale yellow lights, almost losing us each time. In frustration, stepmom grumbled, “Sarah drives like an mmmph out of hell!”

My husband leaned over to me and gently said, “Never say “bat” in front of Bev.”

Twenty years later, we have had kids and even they tell this joke.
posted by Knowyournuts at 11:33 PM on January 21 [5 favorites]


>When I run a yellow-close-to-being-red light...
In my jurisdiction, the light is Amber and the direction is "stop unless it is not safe to do so." I say "quality city driving" when I've judged an emergency stop to be unsafe and I've rolled through an amber light.

Just one of the ways I dot my 'i's and cross my lower-case 'j's.
posted by k3ninho at 7:15 AM on January 22 [2 favorites]


Since then we often refer to things that either don't do anything at all or don't do what they claim to are a "fox paw."

My great-grandmother aspired to be well-spoken but she was pretty seriously monoglot. She would refer to an awkward situation as a fox pause.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:58 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


When I saw The In-Laws, I was still laughing about this scene the next day. Mentioned it to a friend and she said in parking lots her mother would yell "Serpentine!" when they got close the car and the kids would dutifully start zig-zagging in random directions.

Our family, too.
posted by Well I never at 10:16 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]


"....wait... did that sign say 'Welcome to Connecticut'?!"
- not_on_display

I have been burned by that one NY Thruway exit as navigator on occasions with two different drivers.

as for reading store names - do you do the obvious 'Bridal Shop' and 'Adult shop' gag? ("But if you walk in trying to buy one...")
posted by Mutant Lobsters from Riverhead at 4:53 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


I have a couple.

In the early days of VCRs/renting movies, one of my family's favorites was All of Me, with Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin. When Lily Tomlin is explaining to Steve Martin what her plan is (putting her soul into a bowl, then transferring it into Victoria Tennant), he listens, then says, "Ah, good plan." Our family inside joke whenever someone heard of something ridiculous or whatever was to say, "Ah, good plan!"

Similarly, Clue was one we rented, but also came around on HBO/Cinemax, and the two that we always used in appropriate situations (to make each other laugh when we'd otherwise be mad) are the very famous:

"I'm not shouting! Okay, I am! I'm shouting! I'm shouting! I'm shouting!"
"Flames, on the side of my face...breathing, breathless, heaving breaths..."

My dad and I disagree about who said this - he says it was Dan Quisenberry (who, yes, was funny), I was very sure it was an African American non-pitcher. In any case, there were some TV interviews of the teams before some playoff game, probably the '85 World Series, asking players what they thought about the game, etc. Whoever it was just said: "Cottage cheese." After that, if my dad and I got mad at each other, the private joke was to say to the other, "cottage cheese!"
posted by Pax at 5:09 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


All of Me, with Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin

My friend and I have often used "Back in bowl!" from that movie, in various container-related circumstances.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:15 PM on January 22 [3 favorites]




Which reminds me of my stepdad claiming he was "as wet as a mad hen" anytime he got disagreeably soaked by rain/hose/splash/etc.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:47 PM on January 22


Apparently the leading brand of popcorn in the UK (and I didn't realise there could be such a thing, but I can't think of a competitor, so) is Butterkist, which was advertised in cinemas when I was young with the chanted slogan "Butterkist! Butterkist! Ra, ra, ra!"

This has been adapted in our house into several forms, the most long-lasting of which has been, when I get the butter out of the fridge: "Butterdish! Butterdish! Ra, ra, ra!" This is something my wife goes along with with remarkable enthusiasm considering she's from Japan and has no idea what I'm talking about.

(I remember the popcorn in cinemas until the mid-80s coming in smallish packets like crisps, covered in caramel, rather than buckets of the stuff with salt or sugar and butter on, but Butterkist's wikipedia entry suggests otherwise. Anyway, the 1970s was a strange time for food in the UK, especially snack food.)
posted by Grangousier at 1:18 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


I managed to remove the phrase ‘I’m hot’ from my wife’s vocabulary by replying ‘yeah you are’ every single time she said it.

With a certain group of friends the call and response usually goes like this:

"I'm hot."
"Yes, and you're also uncomfortably warm."
posted by pianoblack at 7:32 AM on January 25


The Late Mr. Nerd used to say "That's awful white of you" instead of "That's generous of you." (Not sure that's aged well--he died in '14)
posted by luckynerd at 5:42 PM on January 26


"That's mighty white of you" and "That's mighty white of you, pardner", usually delivered in a faux cowboy drawl, are the canonical versions of that idiom that I remember hearing in general use as a kid. Since the 1980s, not so much.
posted by flabdablet at 9:51 PM on January 26 [1 favorite]


I actually know a couple of people who grew up hearing it as That's mighty wide of you. I kid you not.
posted by y2karl at 8:22 AM on February 3 [2 favorites]


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