A little over a year ago, I watched the ending of “The Sopranos”.
Here’s how the last scene of the last show went down: Tony was the first to arrive at the restaurant which was just some low key Jersey burger joint first. He sat down at a table large enough to accommodate his family of four. We watched Tony as he watched for his family. To kill time, he perused the selections listed in the table-side juke box and ultimately, he picked Journey’s mind-numbing effort, “Don’t Stop Believing” featuring Steve Perry and those ear piercing high notes of his that I swear, were achieved ONLY through serious nad squeezing.
The Family Soprano arrived one by one and shortly after impudent Anthony the Younger arrived, a basket of onion rings was delivered. Tony encourages his wife and boy child to dig in because he “ordered one for the table”.
Fifty-one seconds later, the screen went black and the Journey song stopped abruptly. There was silence and with all the mayhem, bloodshed, gratuitous violence, cussing, drugs…plus all the badda bing-badda boobs and ass that HBO mustered in the series’ six year run, it was over; ended; done and so was the Soprano franchise. There was no hoopla; no explanation.
“Fini” occurred amid a slew of adverbs such as abruptly, darkly, quietly and faithful viewers were forced to come up with their own conclusions on what really happened.
Wanna know what really happened?
A whole handful of Hollywood’s best Italian-American actors found themselves out of work.
Or as they’d say in Jersey, “out of woik”.
I don’t want to get off on a rant here because I merely included the Sopranos riff–not to harass show creator David Chase about the lame ass ending some 13 months after the fact–but rather, to introduce the gist of this post. The point I want to make focuses on what Tony said when the basket of onion rings arrived. Once again, he said he “ordered some for the table”.
I’d never heard that expression before. Even so, I immediately knew what he meant, but it got me thinking about regional differences in the way we speak and how we reference things. Here in Texas, we don’t use that expression; at least, not as a rule. That’s not to say it’s never said down here. It’s just that I’ve never heard it before.
We also say “get in line” or “We need to stand in line for tickets”.
In the northeast, people there “stand on line”.
In Texas and also in a good part of the southeastern United States, we call all soft drinks “Cokes”. It has become (colloquially speaking) a generic reference for every carbonated beverage known to man–past or present.
For example, you’re in Austin or Mobile or Decatur, GA and someone asks if you want a Coke, you’d say yes and the person making the query would then ask what kind of Coke you’d like to have and you’d reply Dr. Pepper.
Silly? Perhaps. Hayseed? To the unfamiliar yes, but it makes sense to us. Perhaps it’s because Coke is HQ’d in Atlanta. I’m not really sure.
In the Midwest, soft drinks are often called sodas. This is alien to me. When I was growing up, a soda was an ice cream drink infused with additional flavoring and carbonated water. Today, when I’m asked if I’d like a soda, I hearken back to the ice cream drink with which I was raised.
I have a very British colleague who calls all soft drinks “fizzy drinks”. The Polish kids in and around my hometown in South Texas called them “sodies”.
In the Northeast and the mid-Atlantic states, these beverages are called “sodas” and they’re also called….(gulp) “pop”.
For a Texas girl, this is very hard to swallow. It sounds foreign. COMPLETELY FOREIGN. I was in a convenience store in San Antonio once and a Yankee/Non-Texan walked in and asked the college age clerk at the cash register, “Where’s your pop?”
The kid looked at him strangely and replied, “I guess he’s at work!”
Something unique to Houston is the name given to frontage roads along the interstates. Elsewhere they’re called frontage roads or access roads…even arteries. But in Houston (and almost exclusively so) they’re called “feeder roads”. Why? I have no idea
We call it “macaroni and cheese” in these parts; I hear it referred to “cheese and mac” or “mac and cheese” in other parts of the country. I understand in parts of the far Northeast and Canada, it’s actually called “Kraft Dinner”. As in “Oh, tonight kids we’re having fried chicken and Kraft Dinner” and to the culinary enlightened in those parts, that portends a meal consisting of macaroni and cheese. Very interesting.
While not necessarily a regional phrase, I hear people say “burgers and dogs” a lot. A whole lot. This bothers me a wee bit. Not sure why, but it does. And when people refer to a hot dog as a frank, seriously I cringe. I mean, who calls a hot dog wiener a frank other than your 80-year-old Uncle Sal from Hoboken???
I must admit, I kind cringe when I hear pizza referenced as “a pie” and the same visceral reactions occurs when I’m at Baskin-Robbins and I hear someone order “shakes and malteds”.
I remember once hearing a colleague ask for a “wedge of chocolate cake”.
My sister Kathy once laughed when she heard someone ask for a “slice” of Juicy Fruit gum. Oh, she laughed…UNTIL she saw on the packaging that each pack offered six delicious SLICES of product.
Was her face red.
It’s “peanut butter and jelly” in my world, yet I hear it conveniently abbreviated to “P-B and J”. I first heard a sandwich referred to as P-B and J only recently.
I am decidedly not a fan of the words “snarky” and “meme”. I’m not even sure what they mean, but I don’t like them.
And finally, this can tear the ass out of me faster than curry-laden Indian food. I will only say this once.
It is anyway…NOT ANYWAYS. There is no “S” attached to the ending of this word. It has sadly, tragically become slang and now pervasive in this country and IT IS WRONG. Here’s why: the word is already pluralized by the prefix “any”; therefore, anyways (with an “s”) is incorrect. Don’t use it. Seriously. If you do, you’ll never get a job and you’ll go broke and live a horribly unfulfilled life completely unloved, overweight and homeless–forced to wear fashions from last season and THAT will make you a blight to society.
I hear someone utter “anyways” and it is the equivalent to the agonizing sound of fingernails on a chalkboard or listening to Fran Drescher with inflamed adenoids reading “The Charge of The Light Brigade” out loud.
Yes, I know. You’re wondering about the burr I’m rectally concealing, right?
I’m well aware of the credence I should give that old adage, “vive le difference”. I embrace the reality that people are not the same everywhere. And yes, I know I’m being picky but dammit, every once in a while, I need to let off a little steam. You see lately, I find that I’m easily agitated and well, let’s just color me “moody”.
This too shall pass but in the interim, bare with me. Here, I’ll give you a topic: Madison Square Garden is neither square nor capable of growing vegetation—discuss while I look for a bottle of Progesterone.
And some Scotch..\