Like most people who’ve spent a good deal of time entertaining themselves, my uses of language can tend toward the idiosyncratic and ‘inside.’ Here’s a handy guide should you ever find yourself attempting to decode Chris-Speak.
allegedly – all-purpose word for conveying casual distrust of (or suggesting a sinister element to) any fact one has not personally verified; especially useful when matter is of such slight concern that no one would have any reason to lie about it
Is that the loaf of bread Grandma just bought?
Allegedly it is.
bouffant – any lady’s hairstyle
Captain Snifflypants – name for oneself when congested
careening off the road – much-feared and practically inevitable result of shoddy car maintenance and/or inattention while driving
The car battery is new, but I installed it myself. So hopefully we won’t lose power and go careening off the road.
coreopsis – name of any flower for which one doesn’t know the name; to be offered confidently, as if there is no question that this is the correct answer
What’s that pink rose called?
Oh, that’s a coreopsis.
dawdling housewives – oft-cited impediment to speedy grocery shopping
You wouldn’t believe how many dawdling housewives I had to elbow in the face to get these pretzels. The snack aisle at Trader Joe’s is crazy.
elbow in the face – preferred means of navigating human obstacles
foncy poncy – fancier than fancy
Wow, you sprung for the 48-pack of toilet paper? Foncy poncy.
for a small fee – response to “Will you ___?” when the requested action is ludicrously small
Chris, will you hand me that stapler?
For a small fee.
hi – most elaborate possible greeting; replaced by head nod when feeling less verbose
hoodlum – any stranger walking outside
What’s that hoodlum doing out there?
I think that’s the chaplain’s wife, Chris.
I think you’re kinda kooky – quick, efficient means of defusing a compliment
That article you wrote was really touching, Chris.
Really? Well, I think you’re kinda kooky.
I’m glad we had this talk – uttered when interaction has been unexpectedly brief or cursory
Can you tell me again about how our ancestors came from the old country?
On a boat.
Oh, okay. I’m glad we had this talk.
just an old wives’ tale – efficient means of dismissing any warning offered in objection to a settled-upon plan, whether the cautionary information is actually dubious or merely inconvenient; like most everything else, can be used for comedic effect
Are you sure you should be running that extension cord through the puddle? I heard it can lead to electrocution.
That’s just an old wives’ tale.
like a big goober – in an ungraceful manner; used only to describe one’s own actions
merging – one of modern civilization’s greatest ills; along with careening off the road, a major danger of driving
no need to brag – used comically, to reframe thing just said as a boast
Man, I didn’t even put on pants today.
No need to brag.
nonsense – all-purpose noun replacement, including for things and situations that are in no way nonsense
(Walking in to find tax paperwork scattered across table) What’s all this nonsense?
not yet – answer to “Do you have a headache?”
pigtails – any lady’s hairstyle that does not meet arbitrary criteria for being a bouffant
po-po, act casual – uttered when a police car is spotted or heard, to a person who is clearly doing nothing wrong; irony works best when neither speaker nor listener is member of a frequently-targeted group
(Looking at plants in front of Ace Hardware with aunt when siren is heard) Po-po, act casual.
such a kidder – description of anyone who has just said something quite serious
I’d really like to get the dry grass mowed way down before the heat comes so that an errant cigarette butt doesn’t ignite a blaze that ultimately consumes our home.
You are such a kidder.
swishies – exercise clothing that swishes when one walks
teal – any color one doesn’t know the name of; to be offered confidently, as if there is no question that this is the correct answer
that’s unfortunate – to be uttered while turning off an especially egregious radio song
The Chris Show – the commandeering of a shared, YouTube-connected television to play nothing but obscure country music clips from the ‘60s through ‘90s for hours at a time
touché – too fun to say for its relatively narrow range of ‘proper’ uses, throw this in anywhere to spice things up and elicit confused reactions; replaces any other single-word reply
Hey, I just wanted to let you know that the carpool will be leaving at 7:15 instead of 7:30.
tricky looey – questionable driving maneuver
Did you see that truck make a U-turn over the median?
Yeah, that was a tricky looey if ever I’ve seen one.
turning a tidy profit – oft-stated goal of overcharging loved ones (“for a small fee”) for simple things
You’ll charge $1 to hand me the stapler?
Yeah. It doesn’t sound like much, but you hand over enough staplers and before you know it you’re turning a tidy profit.
uh oh, who’s this gonna be? – after phone rings, before answering machine gets it
walking around in her bloomers – assumed activity of any woman 70 or older who is home alone
If you’re stopping by Grandma’s, call first. She’s probably walking around in her bloomers.
what do normal people eat? – incantation while trying to conjure up grocery list
you can’t just sleep all day and expect to get ahead in life – complimentary life-coaching offered to lazy cat found sprawled out on recliner at midday
you wanna fight? – conversational filler used to end any uncomfortable silence; best used with people who probably won’t punch you
yours in fellowship – email/text/letter sign-off, used primarily in circumstances that warrant no such formality
Hey, can you pick up some milk on the way home? Yours in fellowship, Chris
For tips on interpreting Chris’ various grunts, see Appendix B.