I’m somewhat amazed at all the phrases that grate on people, as expressed in their recent notes to me.
- For instance, Ralph Drouin says, “I’d like to add ‘pushing the envelope’ as one of my least favorite phrases.
“Last time I ‘pushed the envelope,’ all it did was fall off the counter.
“However, that phrase would be easy to solve in a game of charades.”
- Greg Garland says, “Another overused phrase, especially popular with kids, like my 11-year-old twin grandsons, is ‘You gotta be kidding me. …’ ”
- Claude Culross dislikes “We’ve reached a tipping point.”
But he adds, “I’d make one exception to an outright ban on this phrase, and that’s at the end of a meal out — when it’s time to decide how good a job the waiter did.”
- Diane Burns says, “I have been watching and waiting for this one to be listed: ‘To be honest with you.’
“Is this an indication that in most normal conversation this person is lying?”
I wouldn’t know, Diane — but I DO notice that the phrase is favored by politicians. …
- And a reader who, for some reason, wishes to remain anonymous, nominates as most overused phrase “Not tonight, I have a headache.”
That ended that
Bert Broussard, of Anacortes, Wash., says, “Your recent columns regarding overused phrases reminded me of one that a colleague of mine used very often.
“He would come into my office several times a week and say, ‘Can I ask you a stupid question?’
“And of course my standard answer was, ‘Yes, yea, sure.’
“One day I surprised him when he came in and said, ‘Hey Bert, can I ask you a stupid question?’
“My answer was, ‘Better than anyone I know.’
“He hasn’t used that phrase since then. …”
The singing barber
Bob Irwin cuts hair in The Tangi-Talk Barber Shop in Amite, but he also writes and sings songs.
His latest is “The Road to Baton Rouge.”
Some of the lyrics are:
“I grew up near the Illinois Central station
In not really that much of a town
But when the stores were all gone
I moved along
The road to Baton Rouge
Saturday nights in the fall
The Tigers looked 10 feet tall
The Golden Girls were so pretty
And I was so ready
To stay in Baton Rouge
Then one day a farmer sold his tillage
They built a place called Delmont Village
The shopping centers came in
Much to my chagrin
Change came to Baton Rouge. …”
He goes on to sing of the loss of Baton Rouge landmarks and changes in the city, including the closing of Buckskin Bill’s Storyland cabin.
Bob sang the song on WAFB, and you can hear it by going to the station’s home page, typing “Barber Bob” in the search box, then going to “Barber Bob’s Baton Rouge song.”
Paging Dr. Pilot
René Torregrossa says, “It’s that time of year, when the emergency room residents at the hospital where I’m employed are finishing up and moving on to the next chapter in their lives.
“Upon asking most, I hear future plans for continuing education or an emergency room job in the ‘real world.’
“The other day a resident proudly explained he was leaving us to be a pilot for Delta airlines!
“He was piloting a jet out of Dearborn, Mich., on 9/11, and was later furloughed and placed on a 10-year leave, during which time he went through medical school and residency for the job security provided in the medical profession.
“He said he couldn’t practice medicine and not fly. So he’ll be flying again for Delta and treating patients in an emergency room ‘on the side.’
“How much more interesting can life be?”
Special People Dept.
Joe and Sybil Boudreaux, of Ventress, celebrate 63 years of marriage Monday.
Algie Petrere, this column’s weather analyst, came across these timely answers to the question, “How hot is it?”
- The trees are whistling for the dogs.
- The best parking place is determined by shade instead of distance.
- Hot water now comes out of both taps.
- You learn that a seat belt buckle makes a pretty good branding iron.
- The temperature drops below 95 and you feel a little chilly.
- You discover that it only takes two fingers to steer your car.
- You break into a sweat the instant you step outside at 7:30 a.m.
- You realize that asphalt has a liquid state.
- The potatoes cook underground, so all you have to do is pull one out and add butter, salt and pepper.
- Farmers are feeding their chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying boiled eggs.
- The cows are giving evaporated milk.
Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.