My maternal grandfather uses many idiosyncratic turns of phrase. The two most prominent are “cotton picker”* and “sap sucker.”** “Cotton picker” could be altered to the adjectival form “cotton pickin'” and the interjection “cotton pick!” “Sap sucker” took on the adjectival form only very seldom, if at all, but was sometimes deployed as “sap suck!” Both of these phrases were normally used in situations of frustration or potential frustration.
An affectionate insult was “turkey.” My grandfather sometimes altered this to “turn-key,” for emphasis. There is another variant that I mainly associate with my aunt: “turkey-lips.”
My immediate family’s dog is named Chloe. When my sister and I were young enough to be watching Saturday morning cartoons, there was a thematic sequence introducing commercial breaks on a particular network that featured a lazy dog named “Loafy.” Making the connection with our dog’s laziness, my dad called her “Cloafy.” Over a decade later, he is still sometimes heard to call her by that name.
On Saturday mornings growing up, my dad usually got donuts for us. At a certain point, my two younger cousins (sons of the “turkey-lips” aunt) started coming over for Saturday morning donuts as well. My dad was going by Dick at the time (his reasoning was that it was a name before it was a vulgar reference, but he has since given up and rechristened himself Rich), and so one morning my more mischevious cousin started calling him “Dickie Donut-Head.” In the last few years, this cousin has attempted to deploy the name on a few occasions, but his mother has scolded him, believing it to be disrespectful.
* Apparently a racist reference, though it’s unclear how conscious that was on his part.
** Origin unknown.
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