May 30, 2011 in Features

The Slice: Fellow masters of mangled syntax?

By The Spokesman-Review

Maybe this has happened to you.

You do or say something that strikes you as amusing. Then you think, “I’ll bet I’m the only person around here who does that.”

Chances are, you aren’t. But you know how that goes.

Here’s what I’m talking about.

You know how you’ll be watching a TV show or movie and someone on the screen will utter something that’s altogether unintelligible? Sure.

This can be especially true if you view a lot of British stuff.

Well, in such situations, it’s not unusual for someone watching the show with you to inquire aloud, “What did he say?”

Here’s where my secret talent comes in.

If I do say so myself, I have a knack for being able to repeat the garbled snippet of dialogue. But I don’t try to clarify what was said. Oh, no.

What I do is offer a note-for-note recitation of the impossible to understand statement – mangled syntax, slurred enunciation and all. You know, baffling sounds spoken as if they are supposed to make sense.

It’s not particularly helpful, but it cracks me up.

So anyway, the other night it occurred to me that I’m probably not the only person in Spokane to employ this humor styling.

Or am I?

Slice answer: Should Inland Northwest men be encouraged to wear kilts occasionally?

“Funny you should ask,” Jerry Hilton wrote Friday morning. “My wife, Gail, just returned last night from Scotland. She was saying that all men should wear kilts once in a while. She says that a man wearing a kilt is extremely sexy.”

He quoted his wife as saying, “When you see a man wearing a kilt and tossing a caber (telephone pole) around, you know he’s a real man.”

Hilton noted that he is allergic to wool and of another opinion about man skirts.

“She also says that most of them do not wear anything underneath,” he added. “I want to know how she knows that.”

At that point the discussion shifted to the virtues of single-malt scotch.

Today’s Slice question: How many people here have memories of living in the South and encountering the sentiment that Memorial Day is something to ignore as it’s a Yankee holiday?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email Check out The Slice Blog at Of course, there hasn’t been anything new posted since Friday afternoon.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email