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5 Comments

  • Great post Stan. Thanks. Talking of the family thing, takes me right back to when my son Tom was a toddler. Among the children’s books we read with him all the time, was one where a penguin takes a trip to the park and makes new friends. In a moment of petulance and awkwardness, said penguin is described as beginning to ‘wave his flippers about’. Tom is now 22 but when he or anyone in the family makes a fuss about nothing, to this day we are described as ‘waving our flippers about’!

  • Thanks, Kerry. I like the anecdote! It’s great how these phrases can take hold unpredictably and last decades. Sometimes I think every family should have an archivist keeping track of its idiosyncratic lore and language.

  • Sometimes I reference an action in a movie. I’ll reference the scene in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” where Roger drinks alcohol and explodes to say that a person “goes all Roger Rabbit”.

  • That’s fun too, especially if the scene is familiar enough that you don’t have to explain it. I love Who Framed Roger Rabbit and must watch it again.

  • As I read this, I was wondering if you would reference the movie Gunga Din. After Gunga Din dies and is being cremated, the words, “You are a better man than I am, Gunga Din,” the final line of Kipling’s poem, Gunga Din. When I want to acknowledge someone who has done something I didn’t do or could not do, I always misquote that line: “You’re a better man than me, Gunga Din”.