Say What?

There are times I’ll hear a song I’ve heard a million times before and suddenly realize I’ve been singing the wrong lyrics every single time. 

It doesn’t bother me that much because my version usually makes more sense anyway, but this means that when I hear someone else say them  “correctly,” I’m just as confused as when I found out John Fogerty was singing “Put me in, Coach” and not “Put me in a coma” in his song, “Centerfield.”

At any rate, things always sound better in my head—including a bunch of regular words and phrases I assign a certain phonetic pronunciation to that no one else has a clue about.

In other words, I nail 90s rap songs and pronounce “Worcestershire sauce” perfectly in my head every single time.

But there are some words that I know how to say correctly—the “real” correct and not the “Abby” correct—that I still occasionally choose to say somewhat phonetically from time to time, simply because it’s more fun.

Most of them are foreign. This means I sound fancy AND well-traveled in my own head when, for example, I talk about:

Tar-jay (Target), burr-rettes (berets), Vide-ul Sass-in (Vidal Sassoon) shampoo,  tore-tillahs (tortillas), whores de-vores (hors d’oeuvres), a kayfe (café), par-fits (parfaits), Chee-waa-waa or Chee-wah (Chihuahua) or la-zag-na (lasagna.)

Why am I telling you about a bunch of words that I say wrong because I’m easily amused? Good question, and I probably wouldn’t be if it wasn’t for an experience I had recently while at Tar-jay.

Follow along now, but don’t throw anything in the cart that’s not on the list.

So I was checking out at Tar-jay and told the cashier—“Stacey,” according to her name tag— that yes, Stacey, I did find everything I was looking for along with three dozen other things I never knew I needed. 

Because I said this out loud and know how to read, I was confident that her name was actually Stacey. However, she quickly informed me that, “It’s pronounced ‘C’, like in ‘cantaloupe.’  The s, t, a and y are all kind of silent. It’s easier that way!”

For cripe’s sake.

To preserve my own sanity and what little faith I had left in the human race, I had to believe that she thought that sounded better in her head. And while I probably should have thanked her for giving me something to blog about, I think you know me better than that.

So instead I told her, “That’s so funny! If you replace the s, t, c and e in your name, but add in two b’s, you have my name! The a, b’s and y are all silent though. It’s easier that way.”

Was that mean? Possibly, but she gave me a giggle along with my receipt so I doubt that much damage was done.

And after all, you know what they say: “S’est lah vye!”

Or to get technical: “C’est la vie” with a “c,” like in “cantaloupe.”

Put me in a coma.

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36 responses to “Say What?

  1. Melanie The Spork Lover

    Holy crap thank you. I needed the laugh today. I make up my own words for songs all the time, and am generally disappointed when I learn the real ones, so I just continue using my made up ones.

    I also play this game where whenever the word “love” is in a song as a noun, I replace it with lunch, then change the rest of the lyrics so the song is now about lunch. “What about lunch? Don’t you want someone to share it with you??? What about luhuuuunch? Don’t let it rot awayheeehay!”

    It’s sad, and I find it more amusing than most things.

    Also, my friends and I send each other emails about ridiculous names we encounter at work. My one friend who does licensing, and the other who works for social services, have some doozies I tell you. I’ll email you the list next time I get it.

    Oh, and we also used to go to Mexican places and ro-sham-bo for who had to pronounce their order phonetically. “I’d like a quayseedilla, with a burreyetoe and some encheelayduhs.”

    I knew there was a reason we get along so well. :)

    • Quesadilla is TOTALLY another one. Like I said, the list goes on and on…

      And by the way, I don’t really want anyone to share my lunch with, as asked musically above. I’m rather possessive of my food ;)

  2. Wow. It’s like parents who had a bunch of silent letters to their kids’ names or overcomplicate them to make them unique. Phayth? Ztahmas (It’s thomas, the z is silent)? Ahbbigaylae

    • Yeah, but she totally made that crap up. Her parents probably pretend not to know her in public (and no, the “l” is not silent in that word.)

  3. awesome!
    I’m a lyric geek and music snob so I don’t have those issues BUT _- I intentionally mispronounce things to make my wife & kids crazy. tortillahs is a great one.

    orange= erng
    cafe- kuh fay
    putting “the” in front of everything- The Food, The Potty, The Twitterz, The Facebook, The Cold, The (insert restaurant name),
    banana – nanner
    sandwich – sammich
    toilet – terlet
    cocaine – ko ki een
    marijuana – mary johna
    shampoo – shahm poo
    cinnamon rolls – minnimum poles (my kids love that one)

    and many more….

    • I totally thought of you with the lyrics and also put “The” in front of everything like a senior citizen. However, “sammich” has got to go, my friend.

      • Ugh. Sammich. I’ve started a one-woman campaign of rage to bring the “d” back to the word “sandwich”. I swear, I noticed ONE PERSON, and seemingly overnight, it seems like everyone in my life pronounces it “sauh-wich” – like, almost like “sow-wich” without as much phonetic distinction between the syllables. AND THESE ARE SMART PEOPLE. I occasionally use an exaggerated and bastardized version of sammich around these people so I can enjoy the irony of their “huh? I thought she was smart” looks. It’s the only thing that keeps me from climbing on the tables in my local which wich and screaming “SANNNDDDDDDDDDwich, You Fools!!”

        Ahh. I feel better. :o)

    • We say “terlet” in our home, as well. We also like to mangle movie titles. Haywire = Two Birds on a Wire. Girl with the Dragon Tattoo = The Girl with the Draggle Taggle. Gibberish is fun.

  4. Hey Abby,
    I speak your language! Except I say chee-hoo-a hoo-a. A long haired chihuahua named Tipsy lives next door. So I get to say chee-hoo-a hoo-a
    a lot. She runs a little sideways, hence her name. We have a friend who thinks it’s hilarious to order a fa-lett mig-non and a ca-burr-net. This always make me spew my ca-burr-net.
    Fun post! Have a good weekend~ T.

  5. I adored this post and look at is as affirmation that indeed it is the rest of the world that gets these wrong! I always knew it was Tar jey, I mean really… how low brow would it be to name a store after somthing you want to shoot at? I was so happy to find you on the hop today that I went and got the Kindle download of your book so I could laugh at the snow headed our way. As for your lyrics; I LOVE them and even though I knew it was coach I will now have your version stuck in my head when ever I meet stupid people! Thanks for the great laugh!

    • Really? Wow! This comment made my day. Hope you enjoy the book. And considering the weather, I recommend “Snowpocalypse” or “Sunny with a Chance of Jazz Hands” first :)

  6. HOLY CATS…between you and Lance, I am laughing so hard. I am emailing this post to all my friends that don’t read blogs, because this is freakin funny.

    Abi-Gail :)

  7. One of my co worker’s aunts works for a billing department and she was following up on a bill. The woman’s name was “Shadynasty” and Coworker’s aunt pronounced it “Shady Nasty” and promptly got ripped out because “HER NAME IS SHA-DYNASTY!!!!” Your blog made me think of this for some reason.
    People are naming their kids crazy things. One teacher friend of mine has trouble with her students names. She has Lemonjello and Orangello, which is not pronounced “Lemon Jello” and “Orange Jello”, but rather “La-mon-ja-lo” and “Oh-ron-ja-lo”. Sorry, kids. You’re going to be Lemon Jello and Orange Jello for the rest of your lives.

    • Oh my god. That reminds me of a Saturday Night Live skit that was on when I was little with Eddie Murphy (I think.) The kids’ names were things like Penicillin and Shaniqua Chiquita Banana all these ridiculous words that weren’t names. Turns out he wasn’t that far off.

  8. Oh, and I almost forgot….my dear friend ordered her pasta without the “shit-take” mushrooms the other night. (Shitake mushrooms) She was, unfortunately, dead serious.

  9. I like to say things wrong to be funny. I always say “detergent” for “deterrent” ever since I saw Archie Bunker say “capital punishment is a detergent to crime” on “All in the Family.” I think this is amusing, but of course, anyone who doesn’t know me and hears me say this just thinks I’m a moron.

    As for Stacey, I have no words.

  10. Love it. There goes Target breaking sterotypes again. Love Lance’s “nanner” too. Just that word is killing me… Nanner. Nanner.

  11. StoriesAndSweetPotatoes

    I think I just broke a blood vessel in my eye. I can’t understand how her name is pronounced at all. I don’t think what you said to her was rude, especially considering what I might have said. I want to meet this chick.

  12. A kindred spirit … I purposefully mispronounce words ALL the time (Tar-jay being one of them) because I share the same amusement quotient, I guess. And I was queen of the make-believe words as a kid… Um, maybe I still am.

  13. When it first came out, I sang with Steven Tyler, “Do the Naked Lady.”

    It wasn’t until I bought the album that I realized the song was called, “Dude Looks Like a Lady.”

  14. No harm done, it doesn’t sound like Stacey was picking up what you were putting down…

    Love, love the Shady Nasty comment above – whaaaat? I’m about over these crazy names. I was helping my daughter with her homework last night, and she wrote “10 nickel’s” for an answer. I told her to take out the apostrophe, and explained that made it possessive instead of plural. She argued with me, “No, I can use an apostrophe there because I like the way it looks – I have a friend at school and her name is spelled Kaiy’la.” Uh-uh. I told her, “Well, I could’ve spelled your name with a 4, but that doesn’t change the rules of math.” ::sigh::

  15. This is my favorite post I’ve read this week. I’m still not sure how to pronounce Stacy’s name though…

  16. I totally do the same thing. As long as I’m laughing at myself, well that’s really all that matters. PS I called Worcestershire sauce “What’s this here sauce”

  17. Stay-key? Her name was Stay-key? What the hell….?

    I like your lyric… songs are fun to misinterpret… like Gwen Stefani says, I Ain’t No Harley Fat Girl…

  18. Abby, you cracked me up with that one!! (The s, t, a, and y are silent? The girl is a nutjob!)

  19. LOL! really, sta”k”ey? oh i think she just wants attention now. And yes, SAY LA VEEEEEE

  20. It’s probably a good thing that I only have pets to name; otherwise, I might bring a child into the world with some kind of normal name like Katie or Abby or Stacey (without a silent s t a or y) and scar them for life.

    PS – This reminds me of Sara Lee and how “nobody does it like her,” because really “nobody doesn’t like her” wouldn’t make any sense…much like silent letters in people’s names.

  21. So I’ve been pronouncing my name wrong all these years? No one told me about all the silent letters.

  22. I am laughing so hard, I can barely type a comment!

  23. C like Cantaloupe?

    So…..it’s just a hard c sound, like “k.”

    Is the future here already? Where’s my space bubble?? I need to get out of here.

  24. What about the woman in Alabama that sued the school because they didn’t pronounce her kids name right? The girl’s name? La-Sha.

    Yep, you guessed it, the “dash” isn’t silent.

  25. I do that all the time with songs, people’s names, not so much. I guess Stacey needs to feel a little bit more special. Next time you go in, tell her to start writing a blog and say her name correctly. That’s what the rest of us do.

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