Catch My Phrase


When celebrity power couple Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin announced their split was a “Conscious Uncoupling,” the reaction almost everywhere was “a…what now?” Katherine Woodward Thomas, M.A., MFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist coined the phrase in her book of the same name.

I pondered (as I suspect many other writers did) how this term became a well-known saying. And more importantly, how can we get in on this racket? Not the marriage and family therapist stuff – too much drama. What I mean is, how can we get our words and phrases into the brains and coming out of the mouths of the general public? Isn’t it every writer’s dream to come up with something so clever, so meaningful, that its use will become so widespread that it will eventually make people want to barf? I know I do!

For tonight’s Write Right Monday Night, I’d like to introduce you to some of my favorite home-grown phrases. These terms are used often by me and Mr. Maid. Here are a few from our lexicon. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before they’re being uttered by morning news anchors the world over.

  1. In one of my first posts I mentioned that I was toying with the term Hemorrhoidal Tendencies for the name of this blog because of my propensity for being a pain in the ass. I don’t know when I thought of it, but it’s been one of my favorite phrases ever since. We’ve all met someone who suffers from this malady.
  2. I am a bit of a nervous person and often feel uncomfortable and fidgety. Allergies often make my skin itchy and sensitive. In addition to physical discomfort, my psyche can sometimes feel out of sorts. I’ll feel irritable, anxious or uneasy. This is often called feeling “uncomfortable in your own skin.” I like to refer to it as Nervous Dermis. I can’t wait for the medical community to pick up on this one!
  3. When it comes to my persona at the office, I suffer from a condition that was diagnosed by Mr. Maid as an Overdeveloped Sense of Responsibility, or worrying way too much about things that no one else cares about. This manifests itself in ways such as bringing home 400 newsletters to fold and stuff into envelopes while I sit in front of the TV because I just want to get it done (and Mr. Maid gets to help!) Or going to the office Christmas party when I don’t really want to, and then being the last to leave because “if I don’t clean the place up no one else will, and we (meaning the company) won’t get our security deposit back.”
  4. Mr. Maid, despite his complaints about my OSR has his own affliction in the form of a bad case of Helium Hand. This causes him to volunteer for things that no one else will. If a task will end up being not only time consuming, but soul crushing, his hand just rises up, as if he had no control over it.
  5. Last, but not least, is a term that arose during an interaction with Mr. Maid when he was doing something I had asked him to do, but I was questioning the way he was doing it. I realized I was Micro Delegating. This is of course similar to micromanaging. You assign a person a task, then proceed to watch their every move and critique each step they take.
    washing dishes: a woman in yellow gloves washing dishes in the kitchen sink

So what do you think? Do any of these stand a chance? Do any of you have words or phrases that you’ve “invented?” I’ll promise to start using them if you promise to start using mine.

14 thoughts on “Catch My Phrase

  1. I especially like hemorrhoidal tendencies! I use the term “cruel but fair” to describe poetic justice and “hateful ordeal” to describe… well it’s self explanatory (but so beautifully dramatic)! Giving someone a dirty look is giving them the “clank doy” and if you’re sick, it’s likely you have the “papsy lal”. Those 2 were inventions of my father and they stuck!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Clank doy and papsy lal… hmm… I like ’em!
      My husband’s family calls feeling ill “feeling puny” which I always thought was weird but pretty descriptive.
      I like “stink eye” for a dirty look, but “clank doy” definitely beats it in originality!

      Liked by 1 person

    • My mother also uses papsy lal and I’ve just been googling trying to find references for it after someone else referred to it on Twitter. Mom says things like “Don’t do (x) – you’ll get the papsy lal.” This requires further investigation.


  2. Delightful read. Love “helium hand”, made me laugh. Have actually heard “overdeveloped sense of responsibility” used quite a bit, and not always about the same person. Thanks for sharing these.


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