I love Spoonerisms, mostly because I misspeak a lot. For those who don’t know the pleasure of mixing their words up as frequently as Sarah Palin says Tea Party, let me explain. A Spoonerism is when you confuse the beginning sounds of two nearby words. As a kid, for example, I babysat for a couple I repeatedly referred to as Darryl and Cale (i.e. Carol and Dale). Another infamous Spoonerism, drunkenly coined by my uncle, is wottle of bine.
The term Spoonerism is named after Reverend Spooner, a man of the cloth who lived in the latter part of the 19th century, no doubt entertaining his parishioners by accidentally swapping syllables. My husband (a faster source than Google) says that Spooner’s most infamous mix up was when he said, “May I sew you to your sheet?” (rather than the innocuous May I show you to your seat?)
Spoonerisms can be downright dangerous if you teach Junior High students. You may find yourself telling a student to “sh*t and sush” rather than “sit and shush.” Not that I’ve ever done this…
Most days, I’m not clever enough to swap two complete sounds. Sometimes, I just blend two words mindlessly.
Tonight, while I was washing perogie-mush off of plates, Vivian decided to tell me a joke.
“Mom,” she said, “what do you call a witch at the beach?”
In my mind, I immediately solved the riddle. I thought this:
For once, all the training that comes from teaching 14-year-olds made me think before I spoke.
“I don’t know,” I said.
“A sandwich,” Vivian answered.
I laughed. At the joke and at my own b*tchiness.