Archive » August 30, 2007
By Ernie Witham
Easy Come, Easy Go
We had a lot of expressions in New Hampshire. Imagine a wayward presidential candidate stopped on a country road engaged in conversation with a local New Hampshire resident.
“You look like a concerned voter. How old are you?”
“Old enough ta know bett-ah, young enough ta do it just tha same.”
“Ahh, okay. Great, then can you tell me where’s this road goes?”
“It don’t go noway-ah. Stays right he-ah year round.”
“Well then how do I get to Concord?”
“Oh, you can’t get they-ah from he-ah.”
I think this helped weed out some of the candidates, plus I think that’s how New Hampshire managed to get new residents. They couldn’t get anywhere else so they just settled down and took to greeting a new batch of presidential candidates every four years.
I had a personal favorite New Hampshire expression that I used every time I said something dumb: “Dang, my tongue got in front of my eye teeth and I couldn’t see what I was sayin.’”
That one came up on a recent Saturday when my wife asked what I was up to and I said: “’Bout five foot, eleven, give or take.” Then when she didn’t laugh, I said: “Sorry my eye teeth…”
“I know already. You couldn’t see what you were saying.”
As you can tell, my wife’s sharper than store-bought cheese. Plus, we’ve been married now longer than a…
“Know what else is ‘longer than a New Hampshire winter?’” my wife asked, finishing my thought.
I was mulling over several possible comebacks when she handed me a list of things that needed doing. “All this stuff you promised to do ‘nigh on several months ago.’”
“But I’m busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest. My column’s due and I’ve got a new podcast to record.”
“Looks to me like you’ve got both legs on the coffee table watching the Red Sox game.”
Told you she was sharp. I looked at the list. All the items fell under standard New Hampshire “colonial home” protocol
“Toilet’s running? You have to jiggle the handle a bit. Faucet’s leaking in the tub? Put a bucket under it. Garbage disposal’s making a lot of noise? That’s what iPods are for.”(That last one is actually standard California protocol.)
I turned back to the game in time to see the Yankees go down in order in the ninth inning. “Sweet beans!”
My wife switched off the television. “I’ve been jiggling the handle for six months. The bucket’s full. And there isn’t an iPod in the world loud enough to overcome the disposal noise. We’ve had complaints from three streets over. Either we fix it or I’m calling a plumber.”
Last plumber we hired arrived in a Lexus and had a gold-plated plunger. “No sense paying for somethin’ I can do...” Oh, oh. There’s that tongue problem again.
My wife smiled. “I’m sure you’ll be done faster than summer corn goes through a Canadian goose.”
I had doubts, but I jumped in the car and headed for the fix-it store.
“Can I help you?” an older gentleman in the plumbing section asked. I handed him the list.
“Oooee, you got more problems than an incontinent dog on a treeless street.”
“You can say that again.”
“Nope. Never chew my cabbage twice.”
He handed me a new bathroom faucet with the dreaded words “Easy to Install” on the package. Then he handed me a washer for the toilet and said: “You got something stuck in the disposal. You need to roll up your sleeves, let your fingers do the walking and plumb the depths of the contraption.” Then he headed to another section.
“Wait,” someone yelled. “Harder to find help around here than it is to keep squirrels out of your birdfeeder.” She looked at my supplies. “Plumbing huh? Try catching a lucky bug and throwing it over your left shoulder.”
“Thanks,” I said, and headed home. Three hours later I gave up and called the guy with the golden plunger. Took him a total of five minutes.
“Time to make like a new baby and head out,” he said holding out his Armani-gloved hand.
I gave him the money from my last few columns. Oh well it’s only funny money and tomorrow is another day.
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