Tuesday, October 2, 2012

You're Farty-Far! or Happy Birthday P-Daddy

When we lived in Ireland we learned a few things about the English language. It is malleable, unreliable and dangerous.Words that could get you in some soap-in-the-mouth-trouble at home were spoken in classrooms all over Ireland. Imagine the time Ma Fille asked my Belle-Mere for a 'rubber'.

And vice versa. Just say anything about your 'bangs' or ask for a 'ride' in Ireland and you'll find out what I mean toute de suite.

Accents, as we know, are pretty funny things too. A simple 'ya'll' or 'you guys' can mark you out. Busted.

We laugh a lot at these little differences and continue to find great pleasure in making what we consider to be very funny jokes amongst ourselves, Chez Larson.

As you know, this hasn't changed in France.

Back to Ireland....come with me.

One day after school we were warming our tushes (emphatically not fannies) against the radiator, trying to take the perma-chill out of our bones by sipping hot chocolate (uh, Guinness). Ma Fille had a story from her school day to share. Something had cracked her up and she knew it would send her word nerd mother into fits of laughter too.

She'd had a substitute teacher and the gentle woman had a rather strong Irish accent. When she called out the answers to their 'matts test', read as 'math test' to you and me, one of them would have made my Belle-Mere's palm itch for the bar of soap.

'Farty-Far!', she sang. 'Twenty-two plus twenty-two is FARTY-FAR, so it is!'

And so it has always been in our silly, easily amused little family.

The day has finally come when I can announce to the world and to my lovable P-Daddy:

'Happy Birthday! You're FARTY-FAR!' 

If you think I've been saving that one up for awhile, you'd be right.

If you'd like you can read one of my favorite P-Daddy posts in honor of his farty-farth birthday.


  1. I probably laughed at this post way more than I should. FARTY-FAR! Love it. x.

  2. I knew you would be one of my first commenters today. Not only is it P, your favorite Daddy, but it's Ireland and fartys too.

  3. Love it Aidan. Hope yiz/ye have a great day celebrating. Don't forget to have some birthday craic.

  4. Hooray! Oh my. I was all giggling like a fool until I read the link to the other P-Daddy post and was instantly a sappy bit of goo. Aidan, you shameless manipulator!

    P-Daddy, we haven't met yet but I hope to take care of that soon. In the mean time, I am wishing you a wonderful year ahead full of good health, happiness and a bit of adventure. :)

    Cheers to you both from Arles,

  5. Well, just for the record (and in regard to certain words' "translating" all too readily, if not too accurately)?

    My French in-laws (who are sort of bilingual) are here for three weeks. My own Tennessee parents (who've met and liked my in-laws several times over the years) were here for a few days this past weekend. they arrived late Friday night. Neither of my parents speaks any French.

    On Saturday morning, all four of them had breakfast in the kitchen. I had just taken away the plates and was returning to the table when my French mother-in-law announced, in somewhat faltering English (she's rusty at it), to my father "I have looked forward so much to seeing you, Tommy! I will come back to speak with you, but now I need to take a douche."

    My 73 year old father, to his credit, didn't even blink. He said "That's FINE, Danielle."

    Once the in-laws had gone back up to their guest-room, I explained this exchange to my amused father and fairly scandalized mother (who, having heard rumors since the 1950's, had just confirmed for herself that the French were INDEED very frank and open about sexual/corporeal matters.

    My mother (who's never been abroad, and rarely outside of Tennessee) remarked "Well, even if I DID go to France, I'll be damned if I'm going to start telling folks that I need a 'douche'....."

    Herve (my partner) andI found this all very amusing. we haven't told his mother about the confusion and probably won't ever do so....we're hoping that she repeats the performance...

    Level best as ever, and a happy brithday to your husband,

    David Terry

  6. David,
    Oh, you make me laugh! I still have a hard time saying 'douche'. There are other words I absolutely refuse to say anymore and one of them is 'envie' another 'excited'. Please tell your mother never to say she's excited about something in front of Herve's parents. I learned that one the hard way as it's something we say all the time in the US but means something quite a bit more thrilling over here.
    And because it's P's bday and you've reminded me with your story, I'll tell you this little gem. Quickly...one night at dinner with our French friends Paul, speaking French but translating directly in his head from English, said that he was envious that my friend Corinne makes a hot lunch every day for her husband to take to work (!). That's what he meant to say anyway. What he really said was that he wanted to sleep with her. Oh, fun! The French language is full of booby traps like that one. You should have seen her blush!
    I hope you continue to have a fun time with all four of your parents. How wonderful that they're all there with you!

  7. All the stories are great! Happy B'day to P-daddy too, all the Fartys are exciting! :) J'ai envie d'etre si jeune...

  8. My husband & I visited Ireland a few years ago & cracked up when we were boarding our flight home & they called Rows "Turdy to Pharty". I think we chuckled all the way over the Atlantic!

  9. Oh, yes, the Irish meanings of words we thought we knew and their pronunciations! Happy Birthday to P- Daddy, at least he's not turty-tree!

  10. Happy birthday to P-Daddy. I hope it is a great day for him and you all throw him a great party for his 44th. I think everyone who has spent much time in France has their own memories of language confusion. A quick one for me was when I was young and we were living in Strasbourg, tu instead of vous slipped out to a complete stranger, an older gentleman and he hauled off and slapped me. To the credit of the other French people within hearing distance, they all rushed to my defense and jumped on him about can't you see "Il est un jeune Américain". To which he responded "ca fait rien, il est mal élevé".

  11. Good Lord, "Michel".....just when I thought that I was a cranky old man.....?

    ----david terry

  12. How funny, I also enjoyed the comments. I wonder how many times I translated from italian something that my too polite audience didn't laugh at!

  13. Hee hee, happy birthday P Daddy. You don't look a day over Farty at all. Frequent breaking wind does that, so I hear. x x x

  14. Haha. Happy Farty-Far to P.Daddy. This tickled my funny bone no end.
    Then again, I'm the person who likes to make bookings at our local Irish Pub for 3.30 in the afternoon just so I can hear them say "tree therdy?"
    I heart accents. Ya'lls most of all!


It makes my day to read your comments. They're an answer to my floating words in blogland.