Do random quotes ever come out of your mouth? Do they catch on and become a part of your history? I won’t go into the conversation that prompted me to randomly say “My whole life’s goal is to not misquote Montgomery Gentry.” (If you aren’t a country music fan, MG is a singing duo). It was a funny random comment that fit at the time, believe it or not. I hope it doesn’t stick, because its whole value was comedy for the moment.
Cliff is the king of what we have tagged as “Cliff-isms”. He was constantly warning the kids when they were rough housing that “you are going to rupture your spleen!” While it is possible, how many people with ruptured spleens has he actually known? Traffic has always been a great breeding ground for him to wax poetic. “We are all going to die because stupid people are on the road!” was one that flew out when caught in the flow of Razorback fans headed to a college game in Fayetteville, Arkansas. During rush hour in Portland, Oregon, he declared that “this is a menagerie of stupidity.” I had never heard the ‘m’ word come out of his mouth in my life. The kids could not miss this historic moment, so I jetted them off an immediate text. My phone lit up like a Christmas tree with responses. It is now embedded in the cement of our family vocabulary. Cliff is always ‘colder than hell’. I can never leave that one alone. I love the theological debates that brings up. The song “I’m Leaving on a Jet Plane” will always have substituted in ‘train’ for ‘plane’. We know it makes no sense but have fun when oldies collections are advertised on tv that the producers once again got the title wrong. I am considering making a Cliff-isms flip calendar as there are so many more that should be shared with the free world.
Sometimes we use these to get a point across. When one of my daughters was setting an ex-boyfriend straight who had done her wrong, her go-for-the-juggler line was ‘You are like a tornado in a trailer park. You leave destruction where ever you go!” Ouchy-wa-wa! Point definitely made. Cliff always had a line for the kids pertaining his no-excuse curfew law. He would point to his watch and use a very authoritative voice when he would declare “My watch is the official time. The US government calls me to confirm the time. The Queen Mother calls me to set Big Ben. My time is the only time and you had best set your watch to mine.” The kids had this so engrained they could say it in unison with him. My guess it will resurface when our grandchildren are teenagers.
My mom had a couple of ones that we have refrained putting on her tombstone, but will always be her legacy. “Don’t kick a sleeping skunk” has some deep wisdom if one thinks about it. A favorite is “You can travel the world over with a toothbrush and a clean pair of underwear.”
Here is a lesson for us all. My great grandma’s second husband, who was known to be kind of jerky at times, got exasperated with her and spouted off “Dovey, you talk like a woman with a wooden head!” Then he keeled over dead. I kid you not! If I’m lying, I’m dying on this one. “He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.” (Proverbs 21:23)
There is a huge number of verses about us guarding our mouths. I need to take them more to heart. I’m not saying we can’t have some fun. Humor was created by God as well. We just need to use it for good instead of evil. My favorite verse that has kept me out of a lot of trouble especially on radio is “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3. When I forget it, well, let just say it’s true that God disciplines those he loves.
I am thankful today that God is who he says he is, that he can do what he says he can and that his Word is truth. He is never going to misspeak. Not now, not never! “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those you take refuge in him.” Proverbs 30:5. That’s a ‘God-ism” I can put my faith in.