Here are some of my favorite things my wife Aleen says.
1. Take Yes for An Answer. You would be surprised how many times it comes in handy. Use it when people continue to argue a point you have already conceded, or when they stay on their soap box even after you say two or three times that you agree with them.
2. Song and Pony Dance. This belongs to a subset of sayings which are basically mixed-up idioms that Aleen, who is a Lebanese-born Armenian, blurted out in moments of excitement. She was trying to say either “song and dance” or “dog and pony show,” but ended up with her own brilliant combination. Meaning: event which is contrived or orchestrated in perfunctory, workmanlike way.
3. Walk the dog, Bob. Came about when she overheard me discussing the emergency financial bailout legislation of 2009. She was upstairs. I was in the backyard. She couldn’t see me, but could hear the conversation through an open window. When I came upstairs later, she said, “Who were you talking to?” I said, “Bob.” She said, “Bob, the dogwalker?” I said yes. She said, “Is he a broker or something?” I said, “No. He’s just following it on the news.” She puttered around for a minute or two before remarking, to no one in particular and certainly not to our lovely dogwalker, who had long since left: “Just walk the dog, Bob.” This saying has since become our shorthand for telling someone to stick to their assigned task.
4. This is a bunch of crock! This one popped out when Aleen was voicing outrage about, well, whatever damn thing she was outraged about that day. She was aiming for “crock of shit” or “bunch of bullshit.” Her mangled hybrid is arguably superior to both.
5. Who are you – Andre Mariotti? I was driving too fast. She was trying to accuse me of driving like 1970s-era IndyCar/Formula One racing star Mario Andretti.
6. Pipe down. Similar in meaning to “simmer down now.” Best deployed in a generally cheerful, happy context when you are trying to keep people focused and trying to keep stray commentary to a minimum.
7. Sheer hell. She said this one during a vacation in Italy when some minor aspect of lodging or accommodations wasn’t absolutely perfect. With typical hyperbole, she referred to it as “sheer hell.” The phrase stuck. It has come to mean, “This one little thing kind of sucks, but how can I complain about it, since everything else is ridiculously good, but also you know what — this one little thing does still suck!”
8. Apology accepted. The key here is saying this at the correct time. My wife says it preemptively when I am not apologizing, but am still in fact arguing my original position. Saying this catches the other person off-guard, makes them think that they have misspoken or been misheard. Rhetorical curveball. Can occasionally allow both parties to walk away as if there had been a civil, adult ending to what was probably a very stupid argument to begin with.
9. With All Due Respect. Warning! Danger! Major red flag! If you are hearing this from my wife, she is about to launch into a tirade which demonstrates she actually has no respect for you or what you have done, nor for the people who brought you into this world. This is an unequivocally bad prepositional phrase to encounter. The only silver lining is that, syntax-wise, it comes at the front of the sentence, so it serves as early alert that you are about to get it but good.