All of us have our little verbal quirks. Some are utterly charming, and some are just plain annoying to everyone but ourselves.
I have to admit, I’m guilty of some of the most annoying. There was the time during high school where everything was “Legendary!” and everyone was a “Legend!” (Barney much?). Now everything’s “Awesome” and I say “Dude” a lot, even though it’s clearly not the late 90’s/early 2000’s anymore. I’m even irritating myself with these ones, and yet I just can’t stop. It’s like a nervous tick – the more I want to avoid the words, the more they come out.
I’m sticking by my constant use of “No worries” though, as it’s my duty as an Australian to continue saying it, especially when travelling overseas. So there.
But I’ve noticed a pattern lately that seems to be getting out of control. I’m referring to people by animal names – not in an insulting way, but more along the lines of “Oh, you lovely duckling!” and “Aren’t you a clever beagle?”.
It started innocently enough, I assure you. “Silly wabbit” and “Naughty panda” were the gateway phrases (C’mon, you’ve gotta admit – “Naughty panda” is pretty catchy). I also nicknamed the Moose’s nephew and nieces using animal names – Roo, Rabbit and Bear – which was very adorable of me, what with them being cute little kids and all. Hell, I call my boy “Moose”! Admittedly, it comes from a long line of evolving nicknames, but there is a definite pattern at work here.
But then animal names began to creep in at weird times. Mainly at work. Most people found “Naughty panda” to be hilarious, but were not so impressed when I started referring to them by animal names. The worst was telling one of the bosses that “That sweet little chipmunk” was sitting in for me while I ducked to the kitchen – the boss gave me a strange look before laughing and shaking his head, and said sweet chipmunk, who happens to be a beautiful young lass of short stature, overheard and looked majorly insulted.
You see, I don’t use these animal nicknames as an insult, or to draw attention to a strength or flaw in the person. It’s mainly just the word that strikes my fancy at the time. I love words, and I have my favourites. Mainly “snorkel”. Hehehe. Snorkel. But referring to someone as a “lovely snorkel”, while weird, can’t really be taken as personally as calling them a “happy piggy”.
Ohh...I just came up with three ways “lovely snorkel” can be taken as an insult, and at least 100 ways one of my workmates would make it allllll about his...ahem...anatomy. Note to self: DO NOT CALL PEOPLE SNORKEL.
Still a funny word though.
What was I saying? Oh, yes – despite that fact that pigs are my all-time favourite animal, it would take someone who really knows me and the way my mind works to not get insulted if I called them a “happy piggy”. Or any other animal names. My best intentions do not always come shining through and, coupled with my particular habit of saying weird things out loud that are continuing a thought train in my head that nobody else knows about, my statements usually come across as rather insulting. Sweetly insulting, I hope, but still insulting.
Especially when it’s one of my bosses.
Again – awkward.
I’m going to try coaching my brain to come out with another word in place of animals. “Mate”, maybe? “Captain”? “Admiral”?
Oh, no...please don’t let me get started on sea-themed nicknames...