It’s interesting to examine where and when we pick up items of speech, the words and turns of speaking that pepper our conversations. We pick up some from literature and some from individuals we interact with.

Dudgeon was not a word in my family’s vocabulary for expressing anger or upset. I was living along the coast of Maine, and my mother-in-law introduced me to it. She was the main entry point for new vocabulary items like being “highly permuched” for being very pleased with oneself. Living in Maine proved a revolutionary period for phrases and terms I’d utilize continuously.

My history teacher in high school made a significant contribution when he told me that if I didn’t start working harder, he would “grease your skids.”I had to go to my merchant marine father to find out what he meant about greasing my skids. My teacher had started as a shipyard worker, and to hurry the launching of vessels, the skids under them got greased to make them slide into the water quickly. He was offering to fail me rapidly unless I worked up to expectation. I was soon expelled from school, but the expression stayed with me.

I picked up a bunch of Royal Navy terms from a favorite professor in grad school who instilled them with the Pussers rum we drank at gatherings.

I think my speech would have turned out to be boring without the occasional interference and influence of others.

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