My husband has a lovely turn of phrase. It was actually one of the first things that drew me to him – that and the red hair – I have always had a predilection for gingers. Cats and blokes. Anyway, Dave is originally from a very small town in country Victoria, which seems to be a linguistic melting pot of quaint English turns of phrase and pronunciations such as ‘going down the street’ when heading out to the shops and the best of rural Australian-isms like ‘freezing your tits off’.
Over our years together, I have picked up some of this phraseology, one of which has in turn been passed on to my friends and colleagues and is now in wide use in my social and professional circles. I think of it as a verbal allen key, a phrase which works no matter what the context, and irrespective of what it is you’re trying to communicate. Ladies and gentlemen of the Internet, I give you:
The uses of that’s bullshit are many and varied.
It works to express disbelief – Me: ‘It’s out of toner again? Colleague: ‘That’s bullshit!‘.
It shows when you are sympathetic – Friend: ‘Someone backed into my car at the supermarket and left a false number’. Me: ‘That’s bullshit!‘
It allows the emotional cripples amongst us to express feelings which would otherwise remain unspoken. Me: ‘I won season tickets to the footy/ironed all your clothes/decided I really do like eating chicken’. Someone else: ‘That’s bullshit!‘
Possibly best of all, it gives us words when nothing else seems appropriate. When I received the phone call telling me I had breast cancer, the first words out of my husband’s mouth were that’s bullshit! Which, indeed, it was.
Apparently that’s bullshit is also becoming hip with the young people. And I mean the really young people. Not that long ago we were driving back from a weekend away, with our five year old amusing himself in the back seat watching Youtube videos on his iPad. The route we chose ended up taking us through some rugged country where it soon became apparent the Internet reception was dodgy. ‘Mummy, mummy, why won’t my iPad work?’ was the plaintive cry from the back seat. I calmly explained that the road we were on was out of range, which meant we could not access the Internet, so he wouldn’t be able to watch his videos for a while. (My calm was very much faked, and I suddenly understood why my mother chain-smoked during our family road trips in the 70s.) There was quiet from the backseat for few seconds as this news was digested, and then: ‘No Internet, Mummy?? That’s bullshit!‘
Proud as punch at our boy’s sophisticated and nuanced linguistic stylings, I immediately started envisaging the new family crest, complete with Latin motto: id est, vitulum mauris. I don’t think I need to translate that for you.
So tell me, are you keen to get on board the that’s bullshit trend that I predict is about to sweep the nation? With your help, we could make it 2014’s answer to planking. If you are worried about the vulgar language aspect, I hope you will be reassured by this quote from Mel Brooks, who is obviously already on the bandwagon:
I’ve been accused of vulgarity. I say that’s bullshit.
‘As seen on TV’ image sourced from here.
Given I grew up in a small town in country Victoria, that’s bullshit is a regular part of my vocabulary. My children though are much more advanced and prefer fucken hell. Good parenting in our house!
My boy came out with ‘for fuck’s sake’ bit then assured me that he wouldn’t say it at school. All good then.
That is funny. My two had had an interesting conversation the other day.
“F, you’re a fucken idiot”
“G, you know we aren’t allowed to say idiot”
“Muuuuum, G just said idiot”