Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Do you use it to floss vinyl shrimp?

The Doktah and I have a policy that when you mishear someone, you should always explain to the general public what you thought you heard. Song lyrics are ripe for this sort of thing. I am usually the one who has no idea what the real lyrics are, and The Doktah once caught me singing along to Savage Garden’s “Cherry Cola:”

Ooo-wah, ooo-wah, one fine day!
Ooo-wah one fine daaaay!


Those aren’t the words.

But The Doktah has made a few errors in her day. For years, she thought ‘Til Tuesday’s song “Voices Carry” went like this:

Hush! Hush!
Even downtown
Voices carry!


But mistakes like these can happen in regular conversation as well. When The P.I.’s first grad student asked me to edit is manuscript, I suggested that he add the phrase “shed some light on.” First Grad Student and Smelly Lunch Guy – for both English was a second language – conferred about my suggestion, and then asked me if I was sure that “shit lightning” would be an appropriate expression for a scientific journal article.

My favorite mishear, however was the time The Doktah asked me if I knew where she could find the vinyl shrimp floss. She didn’t really want vinyl shrimp floss. She wanted an Erlenmeyer flask. Which is different.

1 comment:

EditorKat said...

No idea how you got "One fine day" from the Savage Garden song, but the Til Tuesday song, of course! Except I thought it was "WE GO downtown." It never made sense, but then again, I'm not very good at understanding the deeper meanings of poetry.