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Documenting a micturition adage and other sage sayings

Barry Smith

My grandfather was one of those “colorful character” grandfathers.Growing up in the deepest of the Deep South, he developed a select but powerful repertoire of amusing little sayings, songs and nonsequiturs. For example, Papa (spelled that way, but for some reason pronounced “Paw-Paw”) would walk through a room and announce, with authority, “Hold ‘er Newt, she’s a-headin’ for the pea patch!”Who is Newt? Who does he need to be holdin’? Is it an actual pea patch, or is this more Papa double-entendre? I was fine not knowing these answers. I was too busy being entertained.If Papa saw fit to rouse you out of bed, he’d do so by saying, “Wake up and pee, the world’s on fire!” Every single time.If the topic turned to finances, he’d declare: “I’m gonna scratch a poor ass all my life.” Every single time.When it was time to serve ourselves at suppertime, he’d demand: “Take all you want, but want all you take.” Very Zen. And yes, every single time. A few years ago I published an “Irrelativity” which listed all of his sayings, or at least the ones that were printable. So, it was an entire column of: * Papa on appearance, less than ideal: “He looks like he’s been drug through hell backwards.”* Papa on flowers, identification: “Know what kind of flower that is? That’s a Blooming Idiot.”* Papa on birds, identification: “See that bird? That’s a Mil-o-mo.’ He sticks his head in the sand and whistles through his ass and you can hear him for a mile o’ mo.’ “Shortly thereafter I’m visiting my grandparents, and it occurs to me that since all of Papa’s sayings are now written in one place, I should record him actually saying them, as his deep voice and deeper Southern accent are what really makes these little quips sparkle. I give him the script and hold my cheap little “note to self” microcassette recorder in front of him while he gladly performs his own words for me.This would have been fine, except that I had recently started doing radio theater with my friend Arman, an audio god, and he had opened my eyes to the benefits of good quality recording.After listening to the crappy cassette recording, I know that in order to do this properly I’ll have to purchase a digital minidisk recorder.To spend what I consider a lot of money just to “digitally” record five minutes of my grandfather saying things like “I’m so t-u-r-d tired I could f-a-r-t faint!” seems very irresponsible. There are bills to pay, and stuff.It’s a real struggle – but the feeling in my gut wins out over the numbers in my bank account. So I suck it up, head to Circuit City and throw down the plastic, then make Papa go through the whole thing again. This time it sounds real good. I return home, put the recording and the recorder away and forget about them.Five months later Papa dies.Another year goes by before I even remember that I have the recording of Papa, and I praise myself for having been so irresponsible. Suddenly the few hundred dollars I’d spent seemed like a bargain, because I now have an excellent copy of Papa’s Greatest Hits.I take the recording to Arman and he works his magic, putting the whole thing together in the form of an amusingly funky little song.Now then, the special offer – I want to share with you this little something that would not have existed were it not for giving in to an irresponsible creative whim. If you visit my web page, http://www.irrelativity.com, and click on the MP3 link, you can download your very own copy of “Wake Up And Pee,” the Papa rap.That’s all. Nothing to buy, no salesman will call – there’s not even a punch line.All I ask in return is that you follow an irresponsible creative whim of your own.Barry Smith’s column runs in The Aspen Times on Mondays. His e-mail address is barry@Irrelativity.com, and his very own Web page is at http://www.Irrelativity.com


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