When my friend Liza, who was my matron of honor (she hated the “matron” part) and is undoubtedly my most-tenured friend, recently asked me what the hell a “Serial Swooper” was, I realized I probably owe anyone reading this blog an explanation on its title. Because, if Liza doesn’t get it….probably no one gets it.
I’m bilingual, you know. And so is my husband and, now, our kids. I speak English and I speak Hills (my maiden name). Because my Dad has always used a few words that are, as far as I know, completely of his own making. Or, he takes words that mean something else and incorporates them into Hills vernacular with an entirely new definition. One of these many words is the verb form of the word “swoop”.
“To swoop” is to remove something from somewhere else, usually in a quick motion, in an attempt to neaten up. To use the word in a sentence (a sentence often used as I was growing up)…”Marion. Did you swoop my Wall Street Journal?” Most likely, my father had been reading it, got up to do something else, left it on the couch (with all intentions of returning to it momentarily), and returned to find it was gone. Not likely thrown out, mind you. Most likely just “swooped” into a pile somewhere. Because my mother’s style of “cleaning up”, like mine today, involved a number of well-organized piles.
And, no one is immune to my swooping, either. Christmas week, as I lay in bed for a few extra minutes as Husband and my mother-in-law got up early with the boys, I hear this exchange from the living room.
“Yes, Big Brother”
“Where did you put my little chair?”
“I don’t think I did anything with it. Did you ask your Mom if she swooped it?”
“Yes, Grammie. And, she said you swooped it.”
There are more Hills words, of course. And whole phrases. Such as…
Zeeks — men’s underwear.
Panackacakees — pancakes.
FROST! — what you yell when someone (usually a teenager who isn’t listening) says “What?” for the hundredth time rather than “Excuse me”. The explanation on this one is long and drawn out. Just believe me when I tell you there actually IS an explanation.
Ratzenfratzen! — When something kind of bad happens and “Rats!” just isn’t good enough.
Really with you? — One of my favorites. This, roughly translated, means “You can not be serious.” Used situationally: “I think Elin should take Tiger back.” “Really with you!?”
Rack — A synonym for “Yum”. And if something is really good, you may even use the stronger emphasis form of Rack and say Rickety Rack. And if it’s so good you can hardly stand it you might go as far as to say Rickety Rack, Reeky Fack.
Laughing out loud to myself.
You all must think we’re a pack of crazies. But, seriously, my kids are using these words. And, I’m actually pretty psyched about it.
So, anyway. That’s why I’m a Serial Swooper. Now you know.