Sunday, November 10, 1912
I have got hold of a copy of last month’s Siren, the University of Illinois student humor magazine. Here I reproduce one of its pieces that I enjoyed:
HOW TO MIX THE MOTHER TONGUE
A Few Phrases and How to Use Them
We aim to please our readers. For this purpose we have secured A. Warmbabe, a former east sider, to interpret and illustrate a few of the latest fashions in slang. These will appear each month.
“I should worry!” A very new and novel effect in saying one thing and meaning the other. This phrase should be delivered in a guttural yet jovial tone and accompanied by an absolutely carefree and, if possible, inane expression of countenance. It means literally—”Sweet essence of joy! The world’s sky blue.”
“Nix on that stuff!” (from Nix—small incisions, and stuffing—the Xmas intestines of a turkey). A late and pleasing perversion. It should be said in a nasal tone and emitted from the corner of the mouth. An effective accompaniment is a curt flip of one’s hand on a level with the hip. (Practice this before the mirror). Translation—”Cheese it kid, I’m curdling.”
“String me, dear, I’m beans”, (from string—”get me going” and beans—”off my lid”). Use this as a proposal speech. Its best setting is a dark and lonely porch furnished with one small settee. Said in a low voice ringing with tenderness and pathos this sentence is tremendously effective. Practice in the basement or better still, try it on your sister.
EDITOR’S NOTE: We hope our readers will take advantage of this column each month to improve their grasp of the English idiom.