It’s Spoonerism Day!

400 Words

Oxford English Building

From the hallowed halls of Oxford University comes Spoonerism Day.

July is jammed with holidays. We started the month with World UFO Day. Then we raced into Independence Day, National Kissing Day, National Nude Day, and Yellow Pig Day. (The presidential candidate who will declare a three-day holiday weekend for all of these great celebrations has my vote) Today is Spoonerism Day, a favorite of my logophile friends and me.

For you neophytes who are eager to get in on the fun, I offer this brief explanation:

Spoonerisms are phrases, sentences or words with swapped sounds. Usually this happens by accident, particularly if a person is speaking quickly. Spoonerisms are phonetic transposition, but are not limited to the transposition of individual sounds. Whole words or large parts of words may be swapped. The term and the holiday are named for the famous Oxford professor, William Archibald Spooner (1844 – 1930), who was notoriously prone to mixing up sounds.

Is it kisstomary to cuss the bride? (Is it customary to kiss the bride?)

The Lord is a shoving leopard. (The Lord is a loving shepherd.)

Cuss and kiddle. (Kiss and cuddle.)

Doc in Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was prone to spoonerisms. “Search every crook and nanny!” he once pronounced.

I specifically remember one evening when my son, Beau was three years old. As we were driving, my husband and I were discussing different restaurants we might try in our new hometown. From the backseat came, “Let’s go to Kenfucky Tried Chicken!” Out of the mouths of babes.

I do have a favorite spoonerism. The story goes something like this: A few years ago, my sister Mel and her husband Teddy retired and moved to the community of Murfreesboro, Tenn. They rented a place, as it was their plan to build their dream house. One day while on their search for the perfect lot, my sister was driving while Teddy studied the map and gave instructions on how to get to their next destination. “Go to the light and turn right onto the Old Fart Porkway,” he instructed. Needless to say, Mel fell apart laughing. To this day, the entire family refers to Murfreesboro’s Old Fort Parkway as the Old Fart Porkway.

To celebrate Spoonerism Day, switch your sounds around as much as possible. And if you want to spoon with your favorite mate, that’s OK, too. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and shake a tower.

Copyright © 2015 Patra Taylor



Fear of Flying

400 words.

I wouldn’t say I have a fear of flying. I just prefer not to fly. Judging by the persistent twitch in my right eyelid, which triggers about 10 seconds after I book a flight, and then ceases abruptly the moment my return flight rolls to a complete stop at the gate, I might even concede that staying grounded is a deep-seated preference.

I believe if God wanted man to fly, he wouldn’t have created steel-belted radials, cruise control and satellite radio. Besides, if it were natural for me to be jet-setting 15,000+ feet above sea level, why would I feel such an irrepressible urge to shakedown my friends for a couple of illegal tabs of Valium prior to my scheduled departure?

fear of flyingI recently had an opportunity to validate my strong preference to avoid flying. As I twitched and ticked my way to the boarding gate, I spied a young man in uniform approach the crew entrance door. I specifically remember thinking, “I wonder what his parents got him for his high school graduation…last month?” Flying lessons, I hoped, since the baby was my pilot. E-e-e-gads!

Flying into the nation’s capital, do I get treated to a spectacular fly-over of the White House, or a spine-tingling military escort to the nearest debriefing facility? No. Instead, I get tortured with a complete rundown on the Washington Redskins’ training facility in Sterling, Va. from not only the freak fanatic sitting next to me, but also the weirdo sitting in front of me. Geez. I’ve overheard more interesting conversations among members of the maintenance staff at the rest stop near Orangeburg. Being caught in the crossfire of conversations like this one just reinforced my aversion to placing myself in a situation from which I can’t easily escape.

I believe if the Wright Brothers could have foreseen the absolute disaster airport food would become, they would have focused their efforts on something more palatable than hailing in the Aerial Age. After sampling “the world’s greatest chicken” at Washington-Dulles and promptly trashing it in favor of a Hershey Bar and a bag of barbequed chips, I reconfirmed that airports are hazardous to my health.

I prefer to keep my tires firmly on the pavement. But maybe there’s still hope for me. Maybe when my pilot grows facial hair, when the airport diner serves a succulent chicken cordon bleu…and hell freezes over…I’ll have a change of heart.

Copyright © 2017 Patra Taylor