Friday Firesmith – Betsy Murgatroyd, I Love You!

At some point in time, you will meet someone who will become special. You’ll hold hands for the first time, and from that moment on, even if it’s seventy years later, you’ll hold hands with that person for the last time.

When I was a little kid, my vocabulary and speech patterns were littered with sayings I had picked up from cartoons and from the older people around me, and nearly everyone around was older because anyone younger couldn’t talk yet.

I remember the phrase, “God Doggit” and that was the first phrase that got me into any trouble. All the kids said, “God Doggit!” and one day, Janice Kelly, who was prim and proper, and thought that phrase was just too close to “God dammit!” decided to talk the other parents in the neighborhood into banning it. It was my first lesson in pointless and empty censorship, but as a kid, I got used to it.

Likewise, there were parents who didn’t think children ought to say, “Darn!” and some of us really did. We used phrases that sound odd now. To threaten someone, you would tell them you were going to get on them, “Like a duck on a June Bug” even though most of us had no idea what a June Bug was.

“What in tarnation?” was the great grandfather of “WTF?” We called other boys “yellow” if they didn’t accept a dare, and anyone who wouldn’t climb to the top of a tree or throw a rock at a wasp nest was “chicken”.

“I did it for a lark” meant you did something just for the fun of it. That was something our parents said often, but it was dying out.

“Groovy” was a word everyone used, and I still use it. I remember back in the early 70s when “ripped off” became popular. The police were “the pigs” to a lot of people, and I’m happy to see that one go, actually. Hearing someone say “You’re bringing me down” isn’t heard as often either.

But I remember when “Dadgumit” and “Dagnabit” ruled the world of slang. “Damn” and “Hell” were words we used in secret and not often.

There was a cartoon character named Snaglepuss who used to say, “Heavens to Murgatroyd!” which was merely a play on the phrase, “Heavens to Betsy!” even though when we were kids we thought he was saying, “Heavens to murder Troy.” The story of the Trojan Horse was well known to us, and I posited the phrase to mean the Greek Gods were being called upon to murder the city of Troy. I went decades thinking Zeus had inspired Snaglepuss. You’ve likely never read that last sentence before, ever.

Yesterday, I dropped a bottle of hot sauce on the kitchen floor at work and it ricocheted and bounced like a frog on a hot skillet. I didn’t mean to say it, but the word Fu@k! came out and half the office heard it. That’s my go-to curse word apparently. I blame Janice Kelly for banning the phrase God Dogit.

What’s your go-to or favorite cuss word?

Take Care,


Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit. Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.


38 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith – Betsy Murgatroyd, I Love You!”

  1. When my third child was very young, we had an Atari computer and my wife spent her spare time playing Pac-man while our son slept or played in a nearby playpen. My wife would let loose her “go to” expletive whenever she was killed by the ghosts in the game.
    Years later, we still tell the tale that our first child’s first word was “light”, our second’s was “Mama”, and our third’s was “Shit!”

  2. You’re absolutely right, I’ve never heard anyone connect Zeus and Snaglepuss before.

    I use them all frequently, but I think shlt is my go to for one word expletive situations like dropping something. Probably because it’s got to be quick with no time to think about who will hear me, and it’s almost acceptable, the most forgivable.

    For times when multi word expletives are called for, like dropping, breaking and mess to clean up, mofo-er and mofo-ing usually rise to the top often… and with vigor.

    For a cluster I’m watching unfold and can’t do anything about, like a train wreck or traffic pile up, I often amaze myself with the extent of my unacceptable vocabulary.

    Everyone use to say swear words were “not for mixed company”, so not when ladies were around. Took me awhile to find out the ladies used them too, just not when men were around. Of course that went out with sword fighting and the Charleston.

  3. My parents were remarkably restrained in their use of curse words, and as a result I used to be very good myself. That seems to have changed some. I recently had a mishap of middling consequences and muttered F@&*! in the presence of my grandson and realized I’d changed. Maybe I’ve become crotchety. My father chose to use “Oh, for crump sake!” a lot. I don’t think I ever heard my mother utter a curse even though she raised three boys in rapid succession.

  4. I can cuss like a sailor on shore leave. I’m not sure If it’s from growing up around the military or because I used to tend bar for 20 odd years off and on.
    The C word is one of my favorites. It has a stigma here in the states that just isn’t there in other countries. I’ll drop F bombs like i’m trying to burn a place to the ground, of course there are others.

    On a personal note: I’ve missed your ‘The world is a beautiful place’ photos. I hope all is well.

      • Sorry to hear about your chaos, remember:This too shall pass.
        My Chaos is a beautiful thing. Spoiled and farty, but I’m glad she’s here. Lol.
        Looking forward to your return.

  5. Grandma used to always say, “Great Dane O’morn” or great day and the morning. Sometimes it was when something was going good, sometimes when she was upset.

  6. My mom was rather fond of “fudge sickle” and I’m pretty sure “Bless your heart” and “god bless you” are not always used with the purest of hearts.

    I have zero restraint and curse quite liberally, It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

    • Keith, I don’t trust people who can’t use the f word correctly. I mean, are they really from this planet if they don’t have a reason to master the use of that word????

  7. My go to is often “Jesus Christ” – said with intensity; or “Oh My God”. I wish I didn’t use either as I think they are often more offensive than “F*ck”. I have been known to use “Shit” fairly often and the F-bomb when really upset.
    My grandson, aged 12, was convinced that I “don’t like foul language”. I’m not sure where he got that idea as I really don’t care, but his opinion changed when, similar to Grog, I stubbed my toe hard and yelled out ‘F*CK” quite loudly! He was laughing like crazy – until he saw the look my face – but either way, he now is not concerned about my ‘exposure to swear words’ LOL!

  8. I got in trouble with Mom when I said, “Aw, shoot.” She said it sounded to much like “the other word.” Took me a while to figure out that shit.

    We weren’t allowed to say “fart” either, so the euphemism was “Somebody let out a Fred.”

    “Jeez-O-Pete” is one that seems to be midwest dialect.

    • Oh – that really brought back memories LOL! I was also in trouble for “shoot”, which I was using regularly. And, like you, I could not for the life of me, figure out what was wrong with it. My Dad kept saying, “It sounds too much like that ‘other’ word.” and I’d say “What word?” That didn’t go over well despite the fact that I actually meant it. 😀

    • Bunk, I knew parents who thought “shoot” was “too close”. I also knew parents who thought “darn” was too close to damn. Jeez oh Pete is totally new to me. But it is interpreting, never the less.

  9. Lifetime Midwestern boy here and I’ve never heard “Jeez-O-Pete”.

    I do have a cute story my mom told me about the time she was babysitting my son, David. He was about 3 or 4, I’m not sure. But he had a Fisher-Price tool set and was playing with a plastic screwdriver, trying to “fix” something. The screwdriver slipped and he said, “Sh!t”. My mom, trying not to laugh said, “David, you’re not supposed to say that, it’s a bad word” or something to that effect. He replied, “I didn’t say sh!t, I said f##k!”

    • My dear old Mum used to relate the story of when I was around 2 years old, she went upstairs to get me up from an afternoon nap. There was a jar of what was a cure all ointment called Grasshopper Ointment on her dresser, it was green due to the copper in it. I had climbed from my cot and smeared it on every surface I could reach. Mum’s words..”Oh you little bugger you”. Downstairs was a visitor, an old aunt of Mum’s who had travelled to London by train and bus to meet me for the first time. She presented me with a white toy stuffed rabbit, complete with a fancy hat…I evidently received it excitedly. Mum prompted me “What do you say to Aunty Peggy” (whom was a very straight laced God fearing woman””
      “Oh you little bugger you” I told her…evidently thinking Mum’s remark for my ointment painting was praising me. To Mum’s relief the Aunt burst out laughing.

  10. I curse like a drunken sailor, but it ay least keeps my blood pressure down!
    The best one I’ve ever heard was about a man with a big smile on his face; Grinnin’ like a possum pickin’ fish guts outen a wire brush.


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