My Granddad was a giant of a man.  I was never that impressed with Fezzik, Gulliver, or Goliath, because they couldn’t measure up to my Granddad’s height and girth.


He was born to a Greek Immigrant and a Alabama Woman – a couple who had gotten married before he could speak English or she could speak Greek, which led to a colorful marriage, from what I hear.

Granddad had a stern, raspy voice, drank Ouzo on holidays, and used “dammit” as a qualifier for anything.

In fact, both my older brother and I learned that word from him, and tried it out on separate occasions to see if it would stick.

Me and Granddad 2

My dammit attempt was a particularly fateful occasion when we were headed to my cousin’s house to spend the day playing.  They had fabulous woods and empty streets that were perfect for exploring and bike riding.  As we drove up to their fantasyland of a house, I saw that my brother had left his bike there at our last visit, and I simultaneously realized that I had no such apparatus.


Dad slammed on the brakes, skidding our white Ford stationwagon sideways on my cousin’s driveway.  Mom’s head whipped around faster than puke centrifuging forth from a 1985 playground merry-go-round.

“What did you just say???”

“Dammit.  John Chris has his bike out here and I don’t.”

“We don’t say that word.”

Despite my parent’s decision not to punish me for my experimentation, I spent the entire day cowering under my heap of self-loathing, completely forgetting about my lack of wheels, because I’d lost the will to live, let alone play.

My brother was less guilt-ridden about his use of dammit.  He had tried it a few times and had been told that if he said it again, he’d get his mouth washed out with soap.

(Clearly my parents had also watched too much of A Christmas Story.)

But John Chris also had another penchant – one for drinking bathwater – which he had been instructed not to do, with the reasoning given “because it has soap in it.”

So one day as my mom was passing by the bathroom door, she heard my brother in the tub.

“Dammit!!” (gurgle, gurgle, gurgle) “Dammit!!!” (gurgle, gurgle, gurgle.)

Self-Punishment.  He was always the more inventive one.

Granddad and Grandmother lived in Hollywood, the historic and highly sought-after neighborhood of Homewood. Any modern-day upwardly mobile yuppy couple would have been thrilled to pay half a million for their house, only to gut the history and replace it with brand new “old-world” fixtures.

T Model 15

But my Grandparents were quite proud of the fact that they had paid less than the price of any car in their neighborhood for that house (many decades ago,) and also quite pleased with it’s many historical accuracies, including the attic’s orange shag carpet that sprouted up to my knees, the oft-appearing ghost, and the bathroom radiators that regularly burnt us grandchildren as we forgot what they were and used them to hoist ourselves up onto the antique toilets.

But what I remember best about my Granddad was his phrase for me.  He was a complete softy when it came to his grandkids – especially us girls.  He still had his stern, raspy voice, but it was used to say things like. “C’mere, little girl, and sit on my lap.”

I would excitedly launch myself up into his continent-sized lap, and without fail, he immediately responded:

“Dammit girl, you have a bony butt!”

For years, I thought this was just another Granddad phrase, like dammit but fleshed out a bit more.  I assumed that he said this to all of his grandchildren, never really noticing that my cousins did not get the same exclamations, nor did he refer to them as “Bony Butt,” as he often did me.

“Hey Bony Butt – go get me a glass of water.”

Years later and after my Granddad had passed away, I began hearing the same phrase from my husband.  Not the demand for water – the bony butt part.  We would find ourselves in a crowded room short on seats, and so I’d perch atop his lap.  Or I would just sit in his lap because he was my husband and, well, that’s what you do.

About three minutes would go by, and then he’d say it.

“You have the boniest butt!  It feels like a Tyrannosaurus tooth back there!”

“Do you want me to get up?”

“No, let me scoot you over and see if I can pull your pitchfork tines out of my legs.”

Dejected, I’d find my own seat, thinking to myself what a great Granddad Chris would make someday.

But I was still blind to the fact that I had a more uncomfortable derriere than a typical person.

That is, until after birthing my second child.

Somehow, Noah managed to rearrange the bottom portion of my spine even more unfavorably, leaving me with a pogo stick at the top of my butt and a rotator saw blade beneath each cheek.

And now I know: I have an exceptionally bony butt.

It’s not that it’s necessarily small, it’s just that the bones are so sharp they can cut through any amount of flesh, whether it be mine or someone else’s (or both.)  If I could find a diamond big enough to challenge my butt to a duel, my money would be on the butt.

And thanks to Noah, I find myself at a place where I can’t even sit on my own butt for very long without having to rearrange so that I’m propping myself up on my legs, effectively making a human hemorrhoid doughnut to shield myself from my own pickaxe maximus.

And sometimes, on days when it hurts especially bad, I whisper a tiny “dammit” … quiet enough so that my Mom’s eagle ears can’t hear, but perhaps loud enough that my Granddad can.

23 thoughts on “On Prophecies and Swearing.

  1. Well girl, you and I are in the same boat, or should I say jeans?!? I was always called bony butt too, but by my Mom who was usually the victim of my sharp tipped derriere. :D

  2. Love your last line about your Granddad being able to hear you. I catch myself saying things that I know would make my grandparents proud because it comes straight from them, especially my very colorful Nanny who’s favorite word began with an S!

  3. ” pickaxe maximus” is the best! I’ve always heard that phrase my whole life! It is a bit sad :-( Also, I was like “who the heck is John Chris?!?” hahaha! I guess I’ve only ever heard J.C.!

  4. Well, I haven’t had that problem since child #2. And oh that I had that problem again. Love your granddad stories. My granddaddy, although as God-fearing and God-loving as they come, has a colorful word he uses frequently also. We are used to it, but it probably shocks many people. Its just part of him.

  5. This post reminded me of my Great Aunt Grace, because she had a special name for me, not because of her vocabulary. (Aunt Grace was a very prim and proper daughter of a minister, and she would want me to make that clear.) Growing up, she always called me ‘Little One’. Everyone else was called by their name, and I always felt so special that she had a pet name for me. After I was grown and had my first two children we took them on vacation and spent some time with Aunt Grace and Uncle Jack. After a couple of days with them, we were saying goodbye and Aunt Grace looked at my 2 year old daughter, Megan, and said ‘Goodbye Little One’. Full of emotion, I said ‘Aunt Grace, you always called me Little One and and it made me feel so special”. She looked up at me and replied “I never could remember your name”. It was priceless. Because we were leaving, my husband was filming our goodbyes, so I have it on tape. I laugh fondly each time I watch it. That was my last visit with her before she passed away.

  6. I laughed so hard I had a coughing fit that I swear almost launched me into premature labor! I’ve always been told I have a bony butt and now I’m afraid of the previously never considered consequences of birthing this one!

  7. I laughed out loud several times during this one! I won’t tell on here the “fond” memory of what my Daddy Ed called all of his grandkids at one time or another…maybe when I pass you in the hall, oh no, that would be at church…

  8. Ok, to go for a bit more practical advise…. do you sit with a tucked pelvis? ( – look at the pictures of the two sitting positions at the bottom). Not only would that put more pressure on the bony parts of the but and make sitting more uncomfortable, it’s bad for the spine and muscle tension. It’s something I became aware of when I was pregnant – I have a lot of issues with tension in the pelvic floor muscles, so I have to be careful to sit properly and not tuck my pelvis. It’s amazing how much of a difference sitting properly makes! The one place where I have a hard time sitting “right” is in the car when I’m driving, and I’m much more likely to get sore that way! Stick out your but and let the lower back curve! :)

  9. Aww, they sound like awesome grandparents. My butt is only a normal level of bony, I’m afraid, and it has a little more padding than I would like. I thought of your butt in the store the other day, though. I suppose that needs explanation. I was buying jeans, and I ended up getting some “Rock and Republic” ones (probably the nicest jeans I’ve ever bought) for $21 (score for Kohl’s), and of course, as I was trying them on, I thought of your oh-so-informative jean-butt posts. I will have to get my husband to take a couple pics, to get your professional opinion, haha!

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