Monday, February 6, 2017

Glorious Secret and other Burts

Johnie Stapp, the man who coined the word burts. 

Genetics certainly colors our lives from the inside out. We accept what can’t be changed, but strive to correct our ills. However, my sister, Jonya, and I have both inherited a flaw in our tongue that causes us to tangle words and sometimes tinkle! There’s a connection, just keep reading.

When we were quite young my father, a golf pro, was already suffering pain in his shoulders and elbows from years of swinging a golf club, hammering, building, and repairing cars.  One evening after dinner he stood up to reach for another glass of water, and dropped the glass as he reached toward the sink.  Three sets of eyes turned to see the calamity and then heard, “Dammit, my shoulder burts!”

His two daughters and wife sat in silence, afraid to laugh or giggle, but what we heard and what we saw eventually caused a total eruption of hysterics. As much as my dad wanted to scream at us for our rude behavior, he could only join us in the laughter. When the broken glass was cleaned up, a sigh of relief waffled across our shoulders and at last dad explained, “What I meant to say was that my shoulder hurts really bad.”  Burts may not be in the dictionary, but it certainly has held a place in our vocabulary for over fifty years.

One day while shopping and beginning to feel tired on our feet, my sister attempted to explain our feeling, “There’s always a side down to any saturation.” Being tired only added to our uncontrollable laughter, and then one of us felt a warm trickle down a leg. Oh, my. 

Not long ago, a friend asked me about my houseplants that were so strangely shaped. I tried to explain that my grandmother called them “Never Dies”, but the proper term is cacculent.” She looked at me strangely, and my eyes searched my brain back in forth questioning the words I uttered. I continued, “Cacculent, yes, that’s either a cactus or a succulent. You decide.” I appeared as innocent as possible with the newly coined word.

Driving somewhere one day with my comical sister she began to chatter about shopping and what she needed. “I need some new underwear that gives me some support."  Since we were in Tulsa I suggested Zach’s Fifth Avenue. She thought about it a moment and replied, “No I’d rather go to Gloria’s place?” She sat in thoughtful silence, “No, it's not Gloria's," still sighing and thinking, "It's Glorious Secret, for women like us."

"Yes," I laughed, "We'll keep it a secret."

She often makes driving difficult for me, especially in new cities when I’m not sure where places are. Needless to say, our GPS had never heard of A Glorious Secret nor Gloria’s Secret, but we did manage to find Victoria’s Secret, and Victoria's Tea room.

Now the weather spins its own vocabulary and on winter days when the temperatures reach the 70's it is merely "twing" time, in between winter and spring.  

My fit bit just buzzed which means it's time to gualk, or go for a quick walk with the dog on a twing day. 

Please share your own funny word combinations in the comment box below. 


  1. We have many of these in our family "language"! When my daughter remarked that we were having fricken chickasee for dinner we all cracked up. Then my husband told her that was quite a "tramposition" you had! The laughter started all over again.

    1. Two new delightfully funny terms to add to my tangled dictionary. Thank you for the story.

  2. Larry talks about his "merds wixed up"--he's heard that phenomenon from me at times! mb

  3. Thanks Letty, this is very sweet, so real.... jd

  4. Too funny!! Loved it!!

  5. You have your own language. Cool.... rj

  6. On all levels from the words to the cosmic laugh from another planet. I love that your writing stimulates a nice journey to the past and youthful, joyful and funny times. I remember my 3 younger brothers and I having the giggles so long and hard we could hardly breath, usually in church.

    Big hugs Letty

    Judy D