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Colloquial Quagmire

BY JOE RYAN

Colloquialisms have long been a literary window into the thoughts, beliefs, and lifestyles of generations past. Scholars have oft unraveled bits and pieces of the common (wo)man's speech to shed light on how the human race has evolved socially and gramatically. Now 'tis 1999 and as outr millennium fades away, the Commentator has compiled this list of the ten least-heard colloquialisms in the past millennium. We scoured every book, document, pamphlet, tablet, and brochure to find examples of lifestyle found in speech since 1000 AD. Here it is--1000 years of spoken culture...

1167--"The reason that leper hath rat-whipped you maiden, is because God hath willed it. Also, because she is a plague-spreading devil-whore."

1274--"The rats in thine prayerification box are thicker than the good archbishop's holy odor of sanctity."

1529--"Go back to Venice, city-minstrel! This here's Niccolo Machiavelli country!"

1655--"I really have grown to love my drab, colorless, shit-smeared rags and tumble-down wooden shack infested with pestilence because I know that Cromwell really will end all this tyrannic royalist blithery."

1722--"If I had a wig for every whippet-scolding ragamuffin that trifled their soot-laden hands on my silversmithy gloves, I'd be up to my frilly, lacy collar in powdered horsehair!"

1775--"Your musket has all the charm and clamor of a prancing fishwives' indelicate affirmations."

1863--"The gangrene of the leg is a most noble suffering, but when Reb shrapnel tears through the testicles, it is a most hardy and unpleasant rot."

1932--"Look ya rube, I need to get back on the trolley 'cause I ain't got a pot ta piss in or a window ta throw it out of!"

1983--"After this Lionel Ritchie video, you have to pick up your Pogo-Ball and Go-Bots, or it's no TJ Hooker tonight!"

1999--"Like, I will totally kill myself if Sarah MacLachlan doesn't open with 'A Tampon For Mother' at Lilith Fair!"

My oh my, how far we've come...

Joe Ryam, a junior majoring in Theater Arts, is Haiku Poet for the Oregon Commentator