I’ve tested this tactic only once. So it might not work every time.
But if you are out walking and come face-to-face with a hulking skunk, softly saying “Don’t spray me, OK?” and backing away seems to keep the encounter from turning ugly.
“Language arts: In more than a few families, malapropisms wind up as beloved phrases.
In Sheila Jacobson’s family, things that go together because they have just the right combination of hues are said to be “color corrugated.”
In Jill Wakeling’s family, there are those who prefer “Greetings and hallucinations” to the actual expression.
Several Spokane area families enjoy taking liberties with the saying, “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
Some prefer “We’ll burn that bridge when we come to it.”
Others opt for “We’ll jump off that bridge when we come to it.”
“Speaking of misspeaking: Usually, when readers write “I doubt you could use this” because they suspect their stories are too salacious or whatever, the anecdote in question turns out to be fairly tame.
But when Chris Mangini said that about a tale involving some Colville friends who love to sail and a misunderstanding involving the nautical term “seacock” — that’s a valve below the waterline in the hull — it was an accurate prediction.
So let’s move on.
“After the kids are gone: “When I decided to downsize from a four-bedroom house to something smaller and less expensive, I invited my grown and married children to help with the move,” wrote Steve Trapp. “Then I rented a couple of one-way trailers for them to load their stuff and haul it to their houses. It worked.”
“Brand-name browning: Summer camp lifeguard Sarah Shives became known as “Teva tan” because of the pattern her sandals left on her feet.
Nola Barrett has a “Birkenstock tan.”
“Bonners Ferry defended: A joking reference I made to the hub of Boundary County rubbed Joy Elaine Carpenter the wrong way. So she wrote to tell me a few things about Bonners Ferry.
1. The majority of us have two or less junkers in the front yard.
2. The per capita ratio of hound dogs on the front porch to owners is less than 1:1.
3. We do have most of our teeth.
“Warm-up questions: Who in your family most enjoys mocking the intelligence-insulting direct-mail marketing techniques of certain area auto dealers? Has a low-ball repair estimate from the other guy’s insurance company ever made you actually laugh out loud?
“Today’s Slice question: What do people say when they contact your business and want special treatment?
(That’s prompted by my own delight and amazement at the fact that an astonishingly large number of people apparently regard themselves as a “close personal friend” of this newspaper’s publisher.)