A New Language Created by My Late Father, Bob.
My father was a really unique person, unlike any other person on this planet. Part of what made him so different was his use of his own words, phrases and nicknames. This page is my attempt at writing all of them down before they are forgotten. Some of these words are still in use by members of my family.
Tumbleweeds: He actually gave himself a nickname! In the late 80's during an ATV outing, Pop's ATV broke down. As my brother Fred was pulling him back to the pickup, Pop's ATV got crossed up and he got dumped off and dragged a while through some brush. He took a tumble through some weeds.
Poopsie: This was Pop's name for my mother, Ada, who, as Pop explained, was always "pooped" and wanted a "Pepsi" when she visited the service station. Many of my mother's friends and family call her Poopsie to this day.
Fritz: My older brother, Fred. Pretty self explanatory.
Nita-bonita-pasqualie-the-kid-pancho-villa: My sister, Nita. How he came up with this one, I'll never know.
Cindy-hopper: My sister, Cindy. Again, a mystery.
"G": My nickname. Somehow, this is the result of the shortening of G-Whiz, or G-String, as I was always a skinny kid. He called me "G" for so long, he forgot how to spell my given name, Gerard. One day, at the station, Pop was filling out a some sort of form, and needed to fill in my name. He couldn't remember how to spell it.
Jowoard: Pop would call me this because one of my classmates, who was a customer at the service station, couldn't pronounce my name correctly. The guy would come in and ask for "Jowoard," and Pop would just die laughing. He liked it so much, he called me Jowoard sometimes when he wanted to be goofy, which was quite often.
Runchy: A nickname for a sevice station customer named Ronnie.
Shift-less: A customer whose last name was Swift. Friend of Runchy's.
Wood: A nickname for my friend, Lin. In Southern California, there is a town named Lynwood. Pop added "-wood" to Lin's name, and called him "Lin-wood," and eventually just "Wood." Lin later changed his name to Bill, but the "-wood" stuck and he became "Billwood," a name I still use today.
Lockwood: My friend, Brad. Near the California town of Bradley is a wide spot called Lockwood. Since Bradley is near Lockwood, Brad became "Lockwood."
Woody: Rudi, a German friend of the family.
Peanut: My friend, Chis, a short guy.
Uncle Bill: One of our loyal, good customers, named Bill. Bill was an older gentleman, and somehow ended up being "Uncle" Bill, even though we weren't related.
Tony: Our financial advisor, Richard S. I have no idea where this nickname came from, but it sure was funny listening to both of them call each other "Tony" while talking about "Yams." (See below)
Words and Phrases
NEW! Boh-Boh: Volvo.
I've been calling Volvo's "Boh-boh's" for so long, I forgot it was
a Bob-ism! On the way to work the other day, I was behind a
"Boh-boh" and just laughed out loud when I remembered where the
word came from.
You're the PEA-NUTTIEST!: You are great!
Mildewing: "Hi Pop, whatcha doing?" "Mil-Dewing!" Still in use today by everyone in the family.
Vacation: Pop never wanted people to call the restrooms at the service station "bathrooms," because he didn't want people trying to take baths in them, which they did once in a while. He always insisted on calling them "Restrooms." Since one would enter the restroom in need of a rest, he associated resting with taking a vacation. As a kind of codeword to tell the other worker at the service station where he was going, he would always say he was "going on vacation" as he was headed to the restroom.
Long Distance: This indicated what kind of "Vacation" Pop was going on. "Long Distance" meant he expected to be in the restroom for a while.
Short Distance: A short "Vacation."
Scoot: A car tire. The tires are what cause the car to "scoot," or move. Pop would regularly tell people on the pump island they needed new "Scoots." The confused looks on their faces were priceless. He sometimes wouldn't call them "tires" and the poor people had to turn to me and ask what the heck Pop was talking about.
Casins: A worn-out tire. Retreaders call worn-out tires "casings."
Tarr: See Scoot.
Post Toasties: After a trip to Germany, Pop became enamored with the German salutation "Prost," used when offering up a toast. Pop, of course, Bob-ified it to be "Post Toasties."
Farr: "Put another log on the farr, G."
Squeeze: A hug. "Gimme a squeeze!"
Dogs: Feet. "My dogs sure are tired!"
Yams: Since Pop grew up in the San Joaquin Valley of California, there were many farms around that would grow yams, a type of sweet potato. Any time Pop would call our financial advisor, he would always ask how the yam market was doing. Eventually, "yams" became a kind of code word for money. These days, when I call our financial advisor, I ask him how our "yams" are doing.
Snake: Steak (beef)
Puchinelli: I'm not really sure of the origin of this word. It may even be an Italian swear word. Pop used it as an exclamation, similar to "Wow!"
Bark: Burp. Anytime he talked about food that made him burp a lot, he said that it made him "bark." Example: "That Pepsi sure made me bark."
Hay's in the barn: "Hey, Pop..." "Hay's in the barn!"
Weight broke the wagon: "Hey Pop, wait for me!" Response: "You know what weight did? Weight broke the wagon!"
Dodge: The reason he always liked Dodge pickups was the sign on the front that told everyone to move out of the way. You know, "Dodge" me!
Pea-nocks: Peanuts, especially the peanuts we would put into our bottles of Pepsi. He would love his "Pepsi and Pea-nocks" on the way to the beach every Sunday.
Sodie: Soda pop, especially Pepsi, which we would sell out of our Coke machine at the first station. The old Coke machine was half-filled with beer, in the bottom where it was not visible. The old Coke machine, which dates to the late-50's, is still running at Fred's workplace. It got run into a couple of times at the station, one time even breaking through the window it sat in front of.
Banjos: Garbanzo beans
Oh, you're all wet: I don't believe you. Derivitive of the "wet behind the ears" description of certain kind of people.
Bless your old whistle-britches: A compliment, mostly said to older, female acquaintences. I have no idea where this one came from, or even if its derivitive is complimentary or derogatory. He always meant it in a good context.
Oh, go jump off the Chualar bridge! I'm going to jump off the Chualar bridge! If you've ever seen the Salinas River in summer, you'd be unimpressed: It is dry. The Chualar bridge was a one-lane girder bridge that spanned the dry river bed at only about 10 feet off the sandy bottom. If you were to jump off the Chualar bridge, you might sprain your ankle.
(Blank) is good for ev'ry BODDIE! A take-off from the "Milk is good for every body" ad campaign. Pop would say that anything he was eating or drinking was "Good for ev'ry BODDIE." "Pea-nocks are good for ev'ry BODDIE!" "Beer is good for ev'ry BODDIE!"
I'm going to go on strike! Being self-employed all his life, going on strike was the biggest joke he could ever make. Most of the time he said it when he didn't feel like doing some task, or when he felt tired.
Too! Also! In order to prevent people from thinking he said the number two, Pop would add the word "Also" when he said "Too." What a goofball!
Differential: Your rear end. Pop felt it impolite to say "butt," so he called a person's rear their "differential," after the rear end in a car.
Check the automatic: A running joke on people at the service station. As part of auto service, it is standard procedure to check the transmission lubricant level. For manual transmissions, this is done under the car by removing a plug from the transmission and feeling with your finger for the fluid level. On automatic transmissions, one uses a dipstick in the engine compartment when the car is on the ground. Pop would always trick novices by asking them to "check the automatic" on manual transmission cars. This would confuse the heck out of some people, who would search for many minutes for a dipstick that wasn't there. Pop really got my brother Fred once, as Fred had checked the manual transmission fluid level on a car from underneath, and then searched in vain for the automatic transmission dipstick once the car was started on the ground.
Pop the hood: In the seventies, cars began to come with inside hood releases. On cars with exterior hood releases, Pop would ask the owner to "pop the hood" even though the car had no inside hood release. They would search all over inside THEIR OWN CARS for the inside hood release. After a while of standing in front of the car waiting for the owner to find the non-existant inside hood release, he would reach down and release the hood from outside, then begin checking the engine. The customer would then come out of the car, apologizing for not being able to find the hood release.
Lube Job: Pop would spit on his finger and “lube” the inside of our ears. Kinda icky, but funny!
Italian Magnet: You have to be Italian for this to work. Ask an unsuspecting “volunteer” if they would like to see an Italian magnet. Then, start leading them all over, to odd places, all the while giving them the “come here” with your hand. They’ll get it after following you for 5 minutes or so.
How Tall R U? Walk over to an unsuspecting victim as
you’re trying to figure out their height. Have them stand
a hard wall, then put your hand on their head. Tell them to
and lean back a little so you can mark their height on the
As their neck relaxes, “MARK” the wall with the back of their
Laugh at the noise their noggin makes as it crunches! I
believe how many times we fell for this one as children and even
Never bet on a grey horse: Pop was an avid follower of thoroughbred racing horses. He noticed a pattern that anytime he bet on a race with a grey horse in the running, the outcome would be unusual. So, in order to save his money, he would not bet on any race that had a grey running in it.
Yellow Beach Buggy! Pop never liked yellow beach buggies. Anytime he was playing a game of pool, and it was the opponent's turn, he would say "Yellow Beach Buggy" as a kind of bad luck spell on the opponent. Fred built a dune buggy in the mid-70's, and then painted it yellow. The darn thing would never start when it was close to the ocean. Hmmm... Maybe there was something to this after all...
We always thought this story was a fabrication: In the early 40's, Pop, his brother Paul, and some friends went duck hunting in their Model T open car. One of them shot a duck, and it landed in the car! We never believed this story until Uncle Paul's funeral, when one of the friends recounted the story without any coaching from Pop.
Loose Nuts! Pop told a story about how he removed the nut on the steering wheel of his father's Model T, and watched the car carreen out of control down the road in front of the farm!
Got a match? Pop's brother wanted to check how much gas was in the tank of the Model T. At nighttime. Without a flashlight. With a match. KAFOOM! Uncle Paul's eyebrows were pretty singed!
Well, I hope this has given you an idea of what kind of a person my father was. I've never met anyone like him, and probably never will. I'll keep adding more Bob-isms as we remember them. There are some Bob-isms that I just don't remember, and maybe my family will.
Thanks for reading!
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