Crazy things your parents said

I remember how 'controlled' kids were in Glasgow compared to back home where we would go off for the whole day and walk miles having skirmishes crossing 'territories' of other kids.

That's exactly how it was growing up on the South Side of Chicago. There were certain blocks and certain neighborhoods that were forbidden, according to the law of the streets. The rule of thumb is that if nobody knew you on the block, you were going to get a severe beat down. The most important rule was that nobody crossed Western Avenue- neither going east or west. That was the division between Black Chicago and White Chicago. Crossing Western was flirting with death and that was not an exaggeration.
As an adult, it took me a while to abandon this mentality. I made friends with a co-worker and when he said where he lived I pointed out that white people were not allowed in that neighborhood. (I had lived away from Chicago for about 12 years.) He pointed out that it wasn't 1970 any more and it was OK. Plus being a big boy makes a difference. I was able to visit him at home with zero hassles - honestly a surprise for me after my experience growing up in a strictly racially segregated city. Even the cops strictly enforced the apartheid - you were almost guaranteed to be arrested if spotted in the "wrong" neighborhood.

I'm pretty sure the situation hasn't changed much for today's youth. The gang situation in Chicago is worse than ever. At least they allow you to grow up and out of that mess.
I used to hear that in Scotland...

Some other maternal words of wisdom:

"Haud yer wheesht" - Be quiet (as in keeping a secret)

"Keep the heid" - Keep calm

"Yer ar*e is parsley" - You're talking rubbish

"Yer at it" - You're acting like an idiot

"Ye mak a better door than a windae" - You're standing in my way

"Yer heid's fu' o' mince" - Your head is in the clouds

"Yer aywis at the coo's tail" - You're always dragging your heels
The Conversation - happened many times, word for word:

”Where are you going?”


”What are you going to be doing?”


”When are you going to be back?”


More often than not, there WAS no planned agenda - just going “Out” on the bike until I was tired and hungry, avoiding further “incidents” at home. I was about 7 miles from a state game preserve, which spanned some 200 square miles and had miles of gravel roads. That’s where you go when playing that @#& @#$&* music through those @#$&&% @#&&ing speakers would have simply started another argument.
Fast Eddie D - in Glasgow it wasn't/isn't black and white it's Catholic and Protestant and it was serious stuff. When Rangers (Protestant) played Celtic (Catholic) the knives were literally out. At every intersection there would be a boy, a teenager and a man and your appropriate age group half would challenge you "papist or proddie". My father grew up with a hatred and contempt for religion, he was street smart (something I inherited) and knew what answer to give to avoid a fight. He lived in a mixed neighbourhood but well remembered a drunken priest visiting the Catholic family next door demanding money or threatening damnation and all the people who lived there were poor. When I was 15 he bought me a paperback copy of The True Believer, he didn't need to I'd already seen through politics and religion, though I have lots of respect for the Druidic way of life, it wasn't a religion it was 'a way of life'. As it happens the Celtic football supporters club is known across the planet for supporting all oppressed peoples regardless of religion or race. Palestinians hold them in the highest esteem.

The battle of the Boyne in Erin and what followed is still with us today. The Netherlands has known lots of invasions, the Spanish and French particularly. Two generations ago Catholics and Protestants wouldn't do business with each other. I had a friend who lived in what was for me a most beautiful little village in Brabant which is only about 30K from Rotterdam. It was a moated village and had held out against the Protestants and was awarded certain privileges by the Countess (Spanish) of Brabant. One Sunday in 1975 my friend was woken up with very loud bangs on his front door. He opened it to find himself staring down the wrong end of a double barreled shotgun and a seething Protestant telling him "listen you bloody Catholic don't go near my daughter again". The fact that my friend Jack didn't practice any kind of Christianity was irrelevant to this man, it was a Catholic village that's all that mattered.

When we left the UK It took me years to relax when out at night when seeing a group of men coming towards me, I always was ready for violence. Living in Brighton and Hove which has always been known as 'little London'. Burglary - normal. In 500 sq. m 4 murders in the last 2 years where we lived. In Galica/Andalucia/Aveyron/Tarn - good neighbours, no violence. There was a big shock 2 years ago, in the next street to where we live a burglary - 1 in 14 years. Something has gone terribly wrong in the UK.
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Growing up in Central Scotland with its bitter religious divide, the dreaded question was "What school did you go to?".

However, granny would say "We're a' Jock Tamson's bairns" - We have our differences but we're basically the same.

In Chicago it was about what school you went to, and whether it was a Catholic school or a public school.

Chicago was and still is a very Catholic town. Back then neighborhoods were designated by parish. I would not tell people I lived in Ashburn; I would tell them I lived in St. Denis. And the Archdiocese built a whole bunch of schools and added on to the older ones. Now most of those schools are long closed. Most of the churches are closed too.

I know a whole lot of Catholic jokes, but almost all of them are way too dirty to repeat here.
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Good topic. The following is part of a speech I made on my father's 90th birthday eight years ago.

I worked for my dad for a good number of years and got to know some of the people he hired as friends. One of these fellows came up to me one day and said, “you know ever since your dad interviewed me and I started to work here I've been absolutely terrified of him. But I've just realized... he's actually quite funny.”

I was a bit taken aback. But then I laughed. I knew what he meant.

Throughout my childhood, Art had a set of phrases that he used regularly on those occasions that his children -- principally me I felt -- inevitably provided to him. I've come to call these "Arthurisms"

We often helped him do projects around the house. When I returned empty handed from an errand he would growl, "where did you look... on the ceiling?

If I tried to explain why I hadn't done something the way he wanted I always got stopped at "But I thought...” with "you know what thought did." (actually that still remains a puzzle: I have no idea what thought did...)

Forgotten or misunderstood instructions produced "Listen with a pencil"

We were encouraged to rectify faulty logic in problem solving with "use you head or I will... for a football"
and to get active with "don't sit there like a bump on a log".

At the dinner table I couldn't load any amount of food on my fork without hearing "half as much".

Trips had their own phraseology.

On the way out the door stragglers who who promised "I'm coming" earned the retort "'s Christmas" (which was particularly funny in January)

The usual mischief in the back seat of the car regularly resulted in the car coming to a screeching halt at the side of the road and the question, "do you want to get out and walk?"

But the most revealing "Arthurism" was a more "artistic" encouragement to leave the house.

Every now and then he'd trot out this poetic fragment:

Let us go
where the golden apples grow
where, beneath another sky,
parad' islands anchored lie.

As a kid I always imagined that he composed that but later I found out that he'd "borrowed" from Robert Louis Stevenson's "Travel". In the original, Stevenson was describing exotic destinations one being an island of "parrots" I had always heard "parad' to be a poetic contraction of "paradise". I like Arthur's version better.

We took all these in stride. But it took my friend's observation to consciously recognize the wicked humour I had accepted as a given growing up.

And now I thoroughly enjoy using these choice phrases... on my dad. With a big grin.

I figure I have two more years to refine this speech for his 100th.
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Fast Eddie D - in Glasgow it wasn't/isn't black and white it's Catholic and Protestant and it was serious stuff. ..

In the mid 90s I was working with this Scot-Protestant... he told me a story how he once had a Catholic girlfriend... the first time time he brought her home his dad immediately KNEW she was Catholic.... needless to say, as soon as he got his degree, my co-worker left to work at CERN and eventually came to SoCal.

Now.... here in SoCal, his boss was the daughter of a family of Ulster Orangemen (she was proud of it), she was born out there and immigrated to the US as a kid.... and yet they got along. Only in the US could such a thing happen.

Another thing about Scotland... the Romans decided, twice, it wasn't worth invading it.... I mean, they kept trying to invade Germania but not Scotland...

My daughter has a good friend that was born and partly raised in Scotland. I could NEVER understand her late mother, her dad travels a lot so he speaks a more common version of English in public... at home... it used to be a hoot. I figured so long as he kept putting out good whiskey and kept that haggis thing away from me, all I had to do was nod and smile.
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I know a whole lot of Catholic jokes, but almost all of them are way too dirty to repeat here.

Eons ago, the mother of my best friends passed away. The family were Polish Americans from Chicago.

So they had a big family thing out here on the West Coast. Since I am Catholic and a close friend I was invited to everything. Church (*), wake, funeral, burial, all the family get togethers for a week....

On one condition...

Drink the beer ( I was 19 years old)... laugh at the jokes ( by far the best Polack jokes I've ever heard... ) but don't tell any jokes yourself!

We got along great!

(*) Come to think about it.... the funeral for my mom was at the same church too!
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When commenting on someone thin... They don't have enough meat on their bones to bait a mousetrap.

If food somehow wound up on one's shirt instead of in one's mouth ... You slopped your dripper. I think this started from a spoonerism from Cinderella => dropped your slipper... and it evolved from there toward horrible misuse.
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