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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


What, you may ask, is a Dadism? A dadism is a phrase that a father uses with frequency in his quest to parent. I’ll share two coined by my dad.

“There’ll be no.” That’s right, nothing after the “no.” It was an all purpose phrase meant to discourage behavior he didn’t like such as asking “Are we there yet?” repeatedly on trips in the fake wood-paneled station wagon. He employed the phrase as well when my siblings and I asked for something like a fifty dollar pair of jeans, which he called dungarees.

“And rightly so” peppered disagreements that were founded on the premise that my parents were being supremely unfair. For example, if he and my mom said I couldn’t do something like go out to the movies with friends when my room was a mess, and I would say he was harder on me than my friends’ fathers, he’d say “and rightly so.”

What dadisms did your father use when you were growing up? What are some you’ve heard from a husband or brother?

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At 10:36 AM, Blogger Terry Odell said...

My dad was full of them. A few, used when we'd be asking far too many questions:

"A Well is a hole in the ground."

"Y is a crooked letter."

He loved words, and loved playing with them. When we were kids and would drive over Coldwater Canyon to get to the valley to visit relatives, there was an intersection on the other side, where we seemed always to catch a red light. As we waited, he would say in his "Dad" voice: "Don't you dare read that street sign backward."

The street? Moorpark.

At 11:12 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

Loved your dadisms. Thanks for sharing!

At 11:27 AM, Blogger Terry McLaughlin said...

I'm loving these dadisms :-)! Thanks for sharing, Mo and Terry.

My dad was the silent type--I don't remember words as much as actions and movements. For instance, when he walked in the door after a long day at work, he'd pause on the threshold and sag with a smile and a sigh. Exactly the same way, in the same spot, every weeknight.

My granddaughter has begun using that same sag to show her displeasure with whatever she's being asked to do at the moment. The first time I saw her do it, I thought, oh, no--it's genetic!

At 11:55 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

Terry M,
Wow, how interesting is that? Sagging shoulder gestures handed down. I think it has to be genetic. Sometimes my daughter and husband say the exact same thing to me with the same inflection on the same words at different times without having heard the other. I think her brain is wired like his!

At 12:09 PM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

my father: "Don't quit the only job you have."

At 12:18 PM, Blogger Terry Odell said...

I wouldn't say this is a "Dadism", but his words of wisdom still ring true. He used to say, "There are two kinds of jobs. One is the kind where the money is so good, you don't care how bad the job is. The other is the kind where the love of the job is so great, you'd do it for free."

Guess I'm in the second job category, along with so many other writers, I think.

At 1:34 PM, Blogger Mo H said...

Sounds like your dad instilled a great work ethic!

At 6:00 PM, Blogger Louisa Cornell said...

Great Dadisms, ladies!

My brothers used to justify hitting someone by saying "He started it. I had a right to hit back."

My Dad would say "Your rights end where the other guy's nose begins."

He also instilled a great work ethic in all three of us and it seems to have trickled down to my oldest nephew in spades! He said

"If they pay you for 8 hours work, you WORK for 8 hours. Anything less than that is stealing."

Another favorite of ours was when we each were foolish enough to suggest that Dad buy us a car for our sixteenth birthday because that is what our friends' parents did.

He said : "Why should I reward you for living to be sixteen? How hard was it? I fed you, clothed you, and put a roof over your head. Unless you were dumb enough to walk in front of a bus, you were GOING to make it!"

At 8:09 PM, Blogger Merrillee said...

My dad's parents and a couple of his sisters were born in what used to be East Germany before Germany was actually a country. They migrated to Russia and then to the US. My dad grew up hearing German, but by the time I was born used very little of it. He used to use some German expressions, but I couldn't spell them now. But one of them meant "hurry up" or "getting going."

At 8:14 PM, Blogger Terry Odell said...

Mach schnell?

Heard it many times from my mother. :-)

At 9:13 PM, Blogger Louisa Cornell said...

Heard that one from my Dad too, Terry and Merrillee ! My Dad was stationed in Germany with my Mom's brothers. When Dad wanted us to move it he would bark "Mach schnell! Mach schnell!"

At 11:43 PM, Blogger Mo H said...

I love the one about "your rights end where the other guy's nose begins!"

At 1:44 PM, Blogger Christine said...

My dad used to have saying he'd trot out whenever we moaned about the dinner my mom cooked (she had some "interesting" ideas about what to bring to the dinner table).

It was a dutch phrase, but roughly translated:

If it's burned, or not quite cooked, shut your mouth, and eat it anyway.

We had the dutch version of Mach Snell... Our dad would say op schiten (might have spelled that one wrong).

He was also famous for coming up with reasons not to give us money. Once I asked him for some money, and he said "scratch my back." So I did, thinking, wow, I'll get paid. After a bit, he asked, "See any money falling off?" I said, "no." And that was the end of the back scratching session.



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