“C’mon Sharks! Show ’em your TEETH!”

For many reasons, the summer of 1995 was one of my most memorable. Sitting in the stands of one of my brother’s baseball games, while likely debating the true meaning behind the lyrics to Blues Traveler’s “Runaround,” this… guy, this one… Dad would shout this roughly every five minutes. While it wasn’t my dad saying it, it was one of those expressions only a Dad could get away with saying. And it’s one I find myself ineffectively repeating at virtually every sporting event from Cardinal games to the Chiditarod.

When my brother and I talk about our Dad, we talk about his expressions. Many make no sense. Most require a certain amount of inflection that, when mimed by us, sound affected, fake even. But Dad has the knack. And where I fear my child will be raised repeating his or her fathers’ incessant quotations from The Dude or some Chris Farley movie, in effort to correct that, I’ve begun collecting fatherly expressions.

From past contributors to All Plaidout’s “Things My Father/Mother Taught Me” series, I’ve included the Dadisms of their own fathers.


“My husband, Alex says, ‘There’s a hummus among us,’ and ‘I’ll be back in two shakes’ (of a lamb’s tail).”

“My Dad still says, ‘Language!’ when we swear, and I’m 33.”

Joanna Goddard, Cup of Jo


“My Dad loves to say, ‘By golly!'”

“Me (the kid shocked by something): ‘Jesus Christ!'”
“Dad (the minister): ‘That’s right Christine, Jesus is always with us.'”

“‘Does a bear shit in the woods?'”

“‘No flies on me!'”
Christine Mitchell, N’East Style


“He says — and now I do, too — ‘Slow Down! Chew your food like a human being!'”
James Fox, 10 Engines


“Ah, Ju-das Pah-riest.”
Daniel Cummings, Baldwin Denim


“All of my dad’s catchphrases are wildly offensive. like completely unfit to print.”
Cary Randolph


“When we still lived in Lincoln (pre-Porter), we had this ancient vacuum cleaner that dad had jerry-rigged. Wires were poking out all over, all capped off with those little yellow, well, electrical caps. They’d fall off at the slightest motion, highly problematic when vacuuming – and this would set dad off into a purple-faced rage during which he would scream (if very upset) or growl (if feeling more of a slow burn frustration): ‘SCHIZERMEIZER!'”

“It happened so often that, at age, 4, I just figured those little yellow caps were called ‘schizermeizers,’ developed by the Germans to make dads mad when forced to vacuum.”

“He, Porter Sr., and our mom, Lana, would also call each other pet names, but only in the grocery store and always at the top of their lungs. ‘POSENGAZE! Did you get the milk?’ ‘No, but I’ll get it, LANEREEZE. Can we also get the Shredded Wheat and granola?’ It was like a terrible display of audio PDA right in the cereal aisle.”
Hollister Hovey & Porter Hovey


“Me and my sister in the back seat: ‘Are we there yet?’ Our Father: ’12 minutes.’ Same response no matter if we were 4 minutes away or 4 hours.

“Also: ‘DINDIN = Do It Now.'”
Kat McMillan, Pierrepont Hicks


“When we’d get ice cream or when he’d fix something for us, my dad always said to us, ‘Well, how about a ‘Gee, thanks, Dad?”

“He also said ‘Gee whiz!’ a lot. He never swears. Ever.”
Lisa Warninger, Urban Weeds


“I remember him using the old-time baseball expression ‘Can of corn’ pretty often. In baseball lingo it means an easy play, like say a routine fly ball or a lazy grounder to short. Each would be a can of corn play for the defender. He uses it to mean something easy as well, though not just for baseball. If he was trying to get me to mow the lawn he’d call it a can of corn job.”

“He also calls me and my brother ‘Buh-ddy’ all the time. That’s a long first syllable and a short, high last syllable. He also calls me ‘Brother’ a lot.”

“Another one that now I look back on very fondly was that whenever my brother and I would fight he’d say, ‘Oh come on guys, love each other. You got to love each other.’ I don’t think I totally got what he meant at the time. Of course I loved my brother. But what he was getting at wasn’t just the state of loving someone, but the act of it. He wanted us to literally give up our fight, relax our fists, and love each other. On the verge of fatherhood myself (my first one is due July 15th) I’ve been thinking a lot about how to love my little guy, and how to love my wife, my parents, and yes, my brother, in an active way. How can I vault over what will merely be a fact of my life, that I will love my son, and turn it into a practice? How can I make actively and presently loving him into a habit, a reflex? I think I’ve started already, and I can’t wait to keep doing it once he’s arrived. And there’s my dad again. ‘Oh come on guys, love each other. You got to love each other.'”
Aaron Britt, Dwell and The San Francisco Chronicle


“‘No hill for a stepper’ He uses this after requests to do something that will take time and effort. The plural version, ‘No hill for a couple of steppers’ is used when another poor sap is with him.”

“’Is a four-pound robin fat?’ This comes after a question like, ‘Dad, would you care for another glass of wine?’”

“’Colder than a well digger’ This is what a southerner living in Minnesota says each January.”

“’Hell-Fire my boy!’ This is used when something good happens like when I told him my wife was pregnant.”

“’Yer shittin’ me!’ This is also used when something good happens.”
Chris Bray, Billykirk


“Our dad coached us in our various sports and one always used in the heat of the moment was, ‘It’s gut check time.'”

“’What’s up, pucker butt?’ This is how he greets me on the phone more often than not.”
Kirk Bray, Billykirk


“My dad had a very special way of introducing old friends. He’d say, ‘we went to different schools together.'”

“His version of ‘Why not?’ was ‘Well, can’t dance!'”

“A nice play on the ballfield or a good joke was usually met with a ‘Go ahead!'”

“And he actually used the phrase, ‘Oh my golly,’ usually while rattling his scotch glass.”

“My father in law, a retired Navy captain, is fond of saying, ‘It’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.’ Most things are.”
Walker Lamond, Rules for My Unborn Son


And finally, my dad, Brad Wastler, by no means the King of the Dadism, but certainly a prince:

When the Wagoneer was packed and Marty forgot to pack her (fill in the blank)… he would shout from the base of the stairs,
“What are you waiting for… Christmas!?”

Also from the base of the stairs,
“Beeyun?… Meeax?… Guys?… C’mon!”

In regards to literally anything remotely good, he’ll often reply,
“Heck of a deal.”

Hammered his thumb?
“Gall dern it to heck, anyways.”

“Runnin’ around naked as jaybirds out there.”

When I ran the lawn mower into one of the basement windows,

In the dead heat of a summer in St. Louis,
“It. Is. Hotter ‘n blue blazes out there.” This can also be substituted for “hotter ‘n all git out.”

Slices his golfball on a long dogleg,
“Gah-Lee!” If he does it again, “Gah!”

Retelling the story of one of his siblings unthinkable acts, he repeats frequently and in succession,
“I’m goin’, ‘what the heck?!'”
“I’m goin’, ‘are you nuts?!'”

This is not to mention his regional pronunciation of “wash” (warsh) and the distinct inability to correctly pronounce the word “dolls” (dalls, though he was quick — and right — to criticize our basement activities by shouting, again from the base of the stairs, “Meeax? Beeyun? Guys? Quit playin’ with yer dalls (i.e. G.I. Joes, He-Man, Star Wars, or the truly offensive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)! Get outside. Go build a fort.”

Thanks to everyone for their thoughtful submissions. Though, I’m sure there are many other great Dadisms out there. What’s your Dadism?

Happy Father’s Day to Brad Wastler and to all you Dads out there.

– Max Wastler