As you may have gathered by now, I am easily irritated.
In general, people can annoy me by carrying out the most simple of daily activities, whether that happens to be talking, walking, driving, eating, or even breathing. For example:
Talking – I don’t like silly voices, certain accents, or meaningless slang words (for example, if you happen to refer to food as ‘scran’, please kindly fuck right off);
Walking – I don’t like people who stop too suddenly in the street (especially when they then turn around and glare at you like you actually wanted to become intimate with their bottom);
Driving – I don’t like people who undertake, overtake a queue (then cut in at the last second), refuse to indicate, park inconsiderately, speed in built-up areas…. Essentially, I don’t like BMW drivers;
Eating – I don’t like it when people eat with their mouth open, chew loudly, or slurp liquid food;
Breathing – I don’t like people who breathe loudly, as though they are permanently making a mucky phone call, or those who breathe excessively through their nose. I also don’t like racist or homophobic people breathing at all.
I could go on, as the list of irritations I face in every-day life is virtually never-ending, but you get the general idea.
You might assume, therefore, that people mispronouncing words would drive me to the very brink of physical violence; however – rather bizarrely – I not only find this amusing, I have recently begun saying words incorrectly on purpose, just for the poop and laughter of it all.
To be honest, I suspect this is the first sign of my imminent mid-life crisis (you know, aside from the grey hairs, and recent dream I had about buying a convertible Porsche), but unlike the other indicators that I am getting old, I actually relish this one. In fact, the only thing I am looking forward to about getting old, is the opportunity to do and say whatever the hell I like, and others finding it adorable – rather than, well, a bit twatty.
My fondness for mispronunciation all started at Law School, when one of the girls I lived with (there were only two, so don’t go assuming I was the Hugh Heffner of Chester – I wish), made fajitas for her dinner, and pronounced the word:
At the time, this made me chuckle (not least because the girl in question was – and presumably still is – very intelligent indeed), but over time it became an in-joke between my wife and I, to such an extent that we started referring to FADGE-IT-ASS ourselves.
Then, on one occasion many years later, I instinctively – and accidentally – did so in public (whilst shopping in Tesco), and noticed someone stare at me in disbelief, like I was a complete moron. I was about to explain, when I suddenly remembered my own joy at first hearing this mispronunciation of the word, and decided to let them savour the moment instead.
I like to think that they then went home and told all their friends and family about the idiot with his FADGE-IT-ASS in Tesco; and word spread from there. Who knows, maybe one day we can persuade sufficient numbers of people that our pronunciation is in fact correct, and then petition the Government (via something like Change.org), to formally acknowledge it? Ok, the Mexicans will still probably pronounce it the old-fashioned way, but that’s their prerogative (it is, after all, their word), and they’ll be too preoccupied with Trump and his wall to notice anyway.
Anyway, in recent years, as the mid-life senility caused by having young children has truly taken hold, I have relished finding new and increasingly ludicrous ways of pronouncing the slightly more exotic words we encounter in modern society.
For example, the recent invention of quinoa (QUINN-OH-AH), by a Waitrose employee in Berkshire*, was a gift, because no fucker in their right mind would assume the correct pronunciation of that word is in fact KEEN-WAH.
(* NB: I may have made this fact up)
You have never experienced true fury, until you have repeatedly corrected a pretentious middle-class person in Waitrose, on their use of the word quinoa.
“Erm, I think you’ll find it’s pronounced QUINN-OH-AH, actually”
If you repeat this enough, with sufficient conviction in what you are saying, not only is it tremendous sport, but sometimes you can actually spot the first signs of a nervous twitch begin to develop in their increasingly purple face.
My ultimate aim, is to one day find a middle-class person who I push so far, they actually begin to doubt which of us is correct.
In fact, I hereby challenge each of you – well, the dozen or so who will read this – to mispronounce something in public today (the more ludicrous the better), then gauge people’s reactions. I promise it will be the most fun you have had in ages without taking your clothes off.
To help you, here are some easy words to destroy in the company of others:
Lasagne: pronounced LASS-AGG-NAY
Cappuccino: pronounced CAP-PUCK-EE-KNOW
Pistachios: pronounced PISS-TATCH-EE-OSS
Champagne: pronounced SHAM-PAG-NAY
All of the above are good for a bit of light amusement. However, should you be lucky enough to find yourself dining at a Mexican restaurant – or at least somewhere which has Mexican elements to its menu (apart from Mexico itself, it doesn’t work so well there) – this is a veritable smorgasbord of mispronunciation, and is where the real fun starts:
Jalapeños: JALL-APP-AH-NOSS (the trick is to pronounce it like it is a Greek island)
All washed down with a delightful MODGE-ITT-OH (Mojito).
Should any of you try this, please feel free to let me know how you get on. In fact, if you can actually record the event – and the reactions of your victims – as evidence, even better. I’ll upload the best ones to my Facebook page.
That’s it for now. Join me next week, when I’ll be explaining how much fun can be gained by sneaking random – and entirely unrelated – words into legal arguments, pretending they are bona fide Latin:
“No doubt you are familiar with the doctrine of Wingardium Leviosa…..”
“We would remind your client that it is their overriding duty to practice Bifidus Digestivum at all times…”
Thanks for reading x