Today I’m going to tell you the story behind my favorite catchphrase.
When I was young, most common expressions were taboo. You weren’t supposed to say “oh my God” because that was taking the Lord’s name in vain, but neither were you supposed to say “oh my gosh.” The thinking was, if the substitute word makes you think of the “real” word, it’s just as bad.
So instead we said things like “oh my goodness,” “oh my word,” and “what in the world!”
Then, the Visiting Preachers would come to do a week of boring meetings, and they’d dedicate an entire sermon to the evils of “euphamisms.” According to the Visiting Preachers, not only was “gosh!” a bad word, but so were “goodness!” and “mercy!” because goodness and mercy are attributes of God.
Well, to be honest I never took the visiting preachers that seriously. At the same time, there is something a bit silly about saying “oh my goodness!” But I wasn’t about to be edgy and start saying “gosh.”
What I wanted was an expressive word, something more interesting than “goodness” that had no ties to the divine and couldn’t be misinterpreted as a “euphemism.”
I was a teenager at the time, and at school, people were always coming up with bizarre new catchphrases and expressions.
Like, there was a picture book that had been in the school library forever called “Tikki Tikki Tembo.” One day, when someone was mad, another kid said “ooh, Tikki Tikki Tembo.” And it caught on. If someone was mad you made fun of them by saying “Tikki Tikki Tembo.”
Or once the cool kid started calling people “doughhead,” and it became a thing.
I don’t even remember all the catchphrases. I just know there were a lot.
So I decided to invent my own catchphrase.
At the time we were writing short plays in our writing class. My younger brother Ben and his friend Drennan wrote a character in their play named “Matilda Bunnyslippers,” and when we acted out the plays, I got to play Matilda Bunnyslippers.
Well, I was enamored by the name and used it as an online alias at times.
I also began saying “oh my bunnyslippers” instead of “oh my goodness.” It became my thing. Now, no visiting preachers could accuse me of indirectly taking the Lord’s name in vain.
This was when I was like, fifteen, by the way. I’ve been saying this for ages and ages. But it never caught on. Not in school, not in college, not anywhere.
However, at a certain point in life I switched from saying “oh my bunnyslippers” to “what the bunnyslipper.”
And that has made all the difference.
In fact, I think you should start saying “what the bunnyslipper.” It’s very satisfying. We can just collectively forget that the “oh my bunnyslippers” awkward mouthful ever existed.
So far I’ve gotten, like, four people outside my family to say it. (But half of them might have been making fun of me.)
In my family, though, most of us use that expression now.
So that’s the story of that. I’m very sorry that this post is so short. I had a nice long one planned, all about how to make money with writing. But I didn’t have time to finish it, so that will go in the drafts for later.
I promise I’ll have a nice juicy post on Friday though, to close out the April Blogging Challenge.
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