Monday, July 14, 2008


One of my favorite radio programs is TAL. Now, if you don't know what TAL means, you're obviously not part of the cool, hip kids club. Okay, so maybe you are cool and hip, but not so good at acronyms. TAL stands for This American Life and it is fantastic! It's hilarious, thought provoking, and I love Ira Glass's voice. Anyway, each week on NPR, the program features a new theme and they put together different stories around that theme. Last weeks show was great! The first segment was about children who get a mistaken idea in their heads about how something works or what something means and then don't figure it out well into adulthood that they were wrong.

As I listened to the show I started thinking about instances in my life where I had a few mistaken ideas in my head about what something meant or how it worked. For example, school crossing signs with the people crossing the road. It says "xing" and that is exactly how I pronounced it- "ex-ing". I never understood why they would have the sign say "ex-ing" or why people would put the x in front of mas for x-mas. "Ex-mas?" I would think, "That makes no sense." Even when Christina Aguleria was popular, I never understood why the teenie bopper magazines would put "X-Tina" on their cover when they featured her. I thought maybe she was just bad or nasty or something, and they had to X the first part of her name out. I remember one time I was driving around with a friend in high school and I said, "Hey look! That school ex-ing sign is bent over, like someone ran over it!" She just paused, looked at me, and laughed. Looking back now, she probably thought I was trying to be funny. I was a little confused about why she laughed, but figured she was laughing because the sign was bent over, and shrugged it off. Honestly, it wasn't until like 5 years ago when I realized that the sign was meant to be read as "crossing". Suddenly, so many things made sense! Oooh! The kids on the yellow sign are crossing the street! It was an "Ah-Ha!" moment, but I couldn't really share the thrill of finally learning what "xing" meant, because by then I was in my early 20's and I knew I'd be chastised to no end.

And then there's the go-gie story. When my family reads this, they'll probably kill me, but this is a perfect example of a child confusing what something means.

So, here's the background of the go-gie. When my older brother was a baby, my mom was changing his diaper. The poop in his diaper had gotten squished, so it was flat and round, and when my brother saw it, he gleefully pointed at it and said, "Go-gie!" We think he thought that it looked like a cookie (all flat and round and brown), but could only say go-gie, so that's what he called it. Ever since then it just kinda stuck. Go-gie was how we started referring to poop. Anytime any of us kids had to go #2, we'd say, "Mommy, I have a go-gie." If we had diarrhea, it was referred to as a "bad go-gie". In 4th grade, I remember having a bad stomach ache and after returning from the bathroom, my friend sitting next to me asked if I was okay. I told her I was- it was just a bad go-gie. She stared at me blankly and then turned back to her school work.

To this day, we still use the term. It was hilarious and a little embarrassing when I'd have to explain what it meant to boyfriends who I dated long enough to hear the term and wondered what the heck we were talking about .The scenario usually went something like this: We'd be at my house and someone would come out of the downstairs bathroom and say, "Woah- do not go in there I just had a bad go-gie!" The boyfriend would then look at me with a question on his face, probably wondering if someone just did some sort of drug while in the bathroom, and I'd have to explain what it meant. It's not like we go around talking about poop all the time- it would just come up in random instances. After a brief explanation they'd say, "Oh...okay, that makes sense now..." but they still had the "you guys are freakin' nuts!" look on their face. "Come on," I'd say, "Doesn't your family have weird words for things too?" Sometimes they did, but most of the time they'd just laugh and say, "Uh, no!" *sigh* I guess we're just a weird family!

So, here's my question for you- have you ever had a mistaken idea about what something means or what something is? If so, please share! Don't be shy- after all, I just talked about poop! Can't get anymore embarrassing than that, now can it!?


caitlin said...

I am laughing as I read this, because I have tons of these moments! Some that Bob still has to set me straight on!

I used to always say "Out in the boon dogs", instead of Boon Docks. Not until that golf course in Draper opened up did I realize!

I am glad to know, I am not alone!

Sarah Marie said...

Hee! This post was so much fun! I loved it! Your family sounds like a blast -- I LOVE that you call it go-gie! heee!!! Little family jokes like that are the best.

cathycan said...

I remember Barry loudly announcing, in the middle of Sac. Mtg. " I have to do a gogey!" thankfully nobody else in the congregation spoke Cannese!

April said...

Oh Shan, I don't know exactly why, but I have hardly been able to catch my breath or wipe away the tears quickly enough while reading the go-gie story. LOL and LOL again. Thanks for the laugh.

It took me forever to figure out that in the hymn "As I Have Loved You" that it didn't go: "by this shall menno..." What did menno mean anyway?

lifeinredshoes said...

Your family is going to go-gie when they read this!

Jessica Kettle said...

diddo on the "as I have loved you" only i thought it was one whole word, shalmenno.
Also, I spent a looong time thingking that the word "militia" was pronounced mi-li-tee-a and was different that the spoken word militia, which I was familiar with. weird.

Jessica Kettle said...

oh yea, and our family TOTALLY has our own words! Several in fact!

the weirdest one is that we call girls that we love "gif" or "giflin" which is some weird interpritation of the word girlfriend. SEVERAL of my family's closest friends use the word, and we actually didn't start it, my parents best friends daughter did! When my mom or sister calls me I always answer the phone "hey gif!" I am sure people think I have some family member named gif, because I rarely bother explaining. Or if we think someone is so cute/funny/sweet we'll say, "you/she is such a GIF!" We use bif for boys, galf for older gifs, geef for little gifs under age 8, wif for newlywed gifs, gifalif is who knows what... the list goes on. how's that for crazy?

I loved the gogie story. I am so glad our family is not the only one who is like that! I guess we're crazy too. =) I think I am going to have to check out that radio show!

Steph Corwin said...

Okay so I starred this in my reader so I could try to think of things I was sadly mistaken of when I was little, because believe me there were many. But I stink and I can't remember!!! ahh it's killing me!

I'll let you know if I ever do remember (doubtful that will happen though) :(

BECKY said...

How funny! And your previous boyfriends are weird... because EVERY family should have something like that or THEY'RE abnormal!
In my family we call it "doing your duty"... not sure why, but it stuck!

As for x-ing... on a family vacation a few years ago my mom made a comment that maybe we'd see some "elk x-ing". We all immediately took it out of context and were like, "EWWWWWWWWW. X-ING!!!!!!" To this day we still over-react. :)

And for a personal one. I never could read the word 'caution'. I never understood what it meant or how to say it. I think the closest I came to pronoucing it was "cow-ew-sion".

Oh I just thought of a better one. I always thought that the SWAT Team was called the SQUAT Team because you always see them squatting when they go into houses! I'm embarrassed to say that it has been quite recently that I learned that it was SWAT. Good times. :)

BECKY said...

HA HA! I just read all the comments and I totally thought it was "shallmenno" too!!

Lisa K said...

I love This American Life! I'm a huge NPR fan. It's good to know that I'm in the cool, hip kids club! =)

shell said...

I loved this post shan!

I laughed so hard about the gogie. they really do look like cookies. :)

Okay so my family does have a thing that only are family does but I'd have to demonstrate it because its a visual thing and would be to hard to explain. so when we get together I'll show you.

nicole hill said...

wanted to say thank you for frequently commenting on my blog. it means a lot. have a good one.