Oct 11, 2018
Mechanics, like sailors, are famed for their colorful vocabulary. I try my best to avoid profanity, but am excitable enough that standard "gosh darn" and "shucks" is often inadequate to express my feelings. To try and maintain standards of propriety, I have developed a repertoire of euphemisms that help get me though stressful situations.
The other day I caught myself muttering, "Son of a buck...." after things went awry, and it struck me that I learned that phrase from my grandfather. I'm sure he generally used the more common SOB terminology whenever I wasn't around, but used "son of a buck" when I was within earshot. I got to thinking about it, and most of the semi-swear words I allow myself to use are borrowed from other people. A few of them include:
"Shucky-darn." A classmate in high school spouted that in basketball practice, and I've used it ever since.
"Heifer," as in when addressing a stubborn bolt, fitting or machine, "C'mon, you ol' heifer...." I got that one from a co-worker.
"Rat fink..." goes back to life in the 1960s.
"Funderwuckingful" caught my ear when I heard it used by a customer, but it's too much of a tongue-twister to be used in moments of mechanical frustration. It's also easily translated and therefore could offend sensitive ears.
My dad and neighbors in our area had a weird phrase they used to express wonderment when somebody was telling a story. Instead of saying , "No kidding," they'd say, "Da hay." Maybe it was "Da hey." I have no idea where they got it from.
"Absitively" comes from a pastor in college who got bored saying things the normal way. If he was trying to emphasize something, he'd say, "Absitively, posilutely..."
A local veterinarian was famous for muttering, saying or shouting "Mercy!" in times of stress. It's now part of my vocabulary.
There are dozens more euphemisms that spill easily from my tongue when I'm working on equipment and frustrated. I can't think of them right now because I'm calm, collected and not around any machinery that might inspire me to inoffensively vent my frustrations. I'm sure some will come to mind when I go to work tomorrow.