Ioverheard a young girl telling her mother that she wanted to volunteer as a "candy stripper." I laughed out loud. Of course, the girl didn't want to dance naked. She wanted to wear a striped uniform and help out in the hospital. Her confusion came from a mispronunciation of "striper." When there's only one "p," the "i" is a long vowel. Most people don't know the rule, but they know the difference between a stripper and a striper.
This event caused me to remember so many malapropisms I had heard during my time working in schools. By the way, a malapropism is a ludicrous misuse of a word through confusion caused by a resemblance in sound.
Recently, Sarah Palin coined the phrase "refudiate," a combination of refute and repudiate. She was taken over the coals by the media, but Sarah insisted she used the word on purpose. She even likened herself to Shakespeare, another coiner of odd words.
Some malapropisms are funny. A child in catechism class told the nun that Joan of Arc was "burned as a steak." In a math class, one student said that "A cute angel" was the definition of an angle less than 90 degrees.
When someone orders "decapitated" coffee, we giggle. If someone mixes up the words "cavalry" and "Calvary," we can understand the confusion. Lately, searching for the right word has become a daily habit.
Here are some fun examples of malapropisms:
The man said he was "lack toast intolerant."
The cave men were attacked by a large thesaurus.
The emergency crew evaporated the people on the roof during the flood.
The diner said he couldn't eat crabs or any other crushed Asians.
Our former President George W. Bush had a habit of speaking in "Bushisms" a form of malapropism. One of his best was "We cannot let terrorists and rogue nations hold this nation hostile."
Wes Westrum after a close baseball game said, "That was a cliff-dweller."
Dan Quayle, the former Vice-President who had a hard time spelling 'potato' said, "Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child."
Richard Daley, the former Chicago mayor, opined "The police are not here to create disorder. They're here to preserve disorder."
And, finally, Mike Smith (no relation) said to the waiter about his salad order, "Be sure they put some of those neutrons on it."
I'd like to challenge my readers to send me any malapropisms they have heard. I'm sure everyone would enjoy another column on this humorous topic. After all, it isn't rocket surgery.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTACT DR. SMITH, SHE CAN BE REACHED AT HER EMAIL ADDRESS: JSMITH1313@CFL.RR.COM OR IN CARE OF THIS NEWSPAPER.