Monday, July 14, 2014

Purple Prose and Way TMI

Last night, it went like this ...

Me (collapses back onto the couch after succumbing to the stomach thing I've been fighting): Ugh. I feel like death on a stick.

Arizona: Poor kid. (pauses, studying me) Death on a stick, huh? Is that like a corn dog?

(On the TV, a Chopped chef starts breaking down a skinned rabbit, talking about how he needs to add fat because it's such a lean meat. The dead rabbit looks like ... well, a dead rabbit. And brings back memories of walking past a certain ethnic butcher's place every day during grad school, and the funk of supposedly edible corpses hanging in the windows mid-August, buzzing with flies.)

Arizona (pondering now): Or are we talking more road kill here? Some sort of rodent maybe, cooked over a campfire? You know, take a stick, shove it up the critter's--

The TV chef (spills out a tub of pale, gelatinously fleshy blobs onto his cutting block): And now, for the sweetbreads! 

Me (claps hand over mouth, bolts for bathroom)

Arizona (voice floating after me): Sorry!


And, well, now it's 3 a.m., and I'm up blogging because I feel like death on a stick and have been praying to the porcelain god at regular intervals. Which got me thinking about purple prose and really terrible (or awesome, depending on your point of view) euphemisms. Like death on a stick. Praying to the porcelain god. The old technicolor yawn.

I won't share all of the searches I've run over the years, looking for colorful shorthand phrases for various body parts and bodily functions that will fit in this book or that (or at least provide me with a good giggle), but here are a few of my favorites. For man-parts: purple-helmeted soldier of love, joystick, 100% all-beef thermometer, bacon torpedo. For lady-parts: Bermuda triangle, love lips. For that time of the month (in itself, a euphemism): the fun bits are performing their monthly maintenance (thank you, Arizona!), shark week at cooch creek (one that I probably shouldn't find as funny as I do). For lovemaking: play the game of twenty toes, throw another log on the fire, bump uglies, visit the happy valley ...

Some days, I picture an NSA grunt pounding up an echoing corridor, bursting into her superior's office, and gasping, "I've got an IP address with combined searches for 'how to make a pipe bomb,' 'how to crash a small plane and walk away' and 'what's the largest magazine I can get for a Glock 9 mm?' What should I do?" Her superior just looks at the name, shakes her head, and says, "File it under 'writer, comma, romantic suspense."

(Mind you, I'm sure the grunt is a computer program these days, and the run up the echoing marble corridor is pure fantasy, but, hey. My mind likes scenes, not data streams.)

Anyway, I figure the euphemism searches are more or less safe from that sort of scrutiny ... but I sure do wind up with some weird ads in my sidebar. And if you want to share a euphemism, lay it on me! 

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