By Grant McGee: Local columnist
With Cannon Air Force Base here, you’re going to have folks from all over the country living around Clovis.
Along with the different accents from around the country come different terms and words to describe the same thing known as colloquialisms.
Giving someone a ride on your bicycle is called a “double” back where I come from. Around eastern New Mexico and west Texas it’s called a “pump.”
The Lady of the House thinks all the terms she learned as a kid are the right terms. I, of course, believe my colloquialisms are right because I grew up in Virginia. Virginians think their state was the cradle of Western civilization; well if you listened to my dad you would’ve thought so.
The Lady of the House thinks a “June bug” is one of those brown beetles that comes flying in at your porch light at night, lands on its back and can’t get up. Back home we called those “camel bugs.”
“A June bug is green and big,” I said. “You catch it, tie a piece of thread to one of its legs and fly it around your head all day.”
She said I didn’t know my bugs. Alleging a man doesn’t know his bugs is an insult to any guy.
Just when things were getting calmed down I saw a sliding board on TV.
“A what?” she said.
“A sliding board. You know, that piece of playground equipment you slide down.”
“It’s called a slide.”
We ended up not talking for a few minutes.
It reminded me of my Ohio-born mom and her Virginia-born mother-in-law, my grandmother, arguing over whether a commode is a dresser or a toilet. That “friendly” discussion wasn’t resolved either.
Luckily, I found someone from the old home place to back me up. While attending a local function I ran into Jerry, a fellow Virginian.
“Jerry, Jerry,” I said excitedly, making sure The Lady of the House was within earshot. “What color is a June bug?”
“It’s green,” he said. “You catch one then tie a thread to one of its legs and fly it around all day.”
I turned to The Lady of the House with eyebrows raised and a big smile, expecting her to say, “OK, I was wrong.”
“You Virginians don’t know anything,” she said. “A June bug is brown.”
“OK,” I said, turning to Jerry, “that piece of playground equipment that you slide down, what’s that called?”
“A sliding board,” he said.
“It’s a slide,” said The Lady of the House.
“I’m not saying it’s not called a slide, I’m just saying it’s also called a sliding board,” I said.
She rolled her eyes.
“And,” I said, turning back to Jerry, “what do you call it when you give someone a ride on your bicycle?”
I gave Jerry a high-five. “Man,” I said, “it’s good to hang with someone from the home country.”
“You haven’t proven anything, other than you Virginians don’t know anything,” said The Lady of the House.
“Oh no,” I said. “There’s two of us and one of you. We win.”
“OK, you win,” said The Lady of the House, turning to chat with some friends. But somehow I don’t think she meant it.
Maybe the wisest path to take on colloquialisms is to just smile and nod. After all, like Dr. Phil says on TV, “do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?”
Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: