Putter-Onner-Thingees, Hootises & Other Okie-isms

Okie heartWhen I was growing up in Norman, I didn’t realize that colloquialisms were invented by middle-aged people because they couldn’t remember what you called a … you know… a whatchamacallit.

As a public service to my fellow Okie Boomers, I offer this useful list of Okie-alisms from my youth.

Hootis (N):  \who-tiss\

A thing that can be used to do something else.

My Dad, a shade tree mechanic, and his cousin often had this conversation when my Dad was halfway under the car and his cousin was “supervising”, i.e., looking down into the engine, drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes and offering helpful suggestions.

“You’re making a mistake if you don’t use that hootis to loosen the alternator, not that wrench, because it will slip off the bolt.”

To which my did would respond: “BANG (sound of the wrench slipping off the bolt and Dad’s knuckles getting bloodied), followed by:  “Take your @#%&*/+!## damn hootis and @#%&%#%&!” at which point they would break for a…

Colorado Kool-aid  (N):  call\or\add\oh\koo\laid

The beverage of choice (Coors beer) that my Dad drank by the tanker load, especially after crunching his knuckles or his bald head while doing mechanic work.

Putter-Onner-Thingee (N): \put\er\on\er\thing-ee\

A device that can be used to put one thing onto another thing.

While, theoretically, a hootis or hootisses (plural) could be used to put anything onto anything, or take anything off of anything, my Mom was not of the hootis school.  She was more a putter-onner kind of woman, or, to be more precise,a putter-onner-thingee woman.

Her putter-onner-thingees were mainly kept in kitchen drawers, but some were stored in the attic and only brought down for the holidays.  Mom would turn on the Christmas music and commence to give marching orders to my two older sisters, like a drill instructor wearing an apron:

“I’ll start making the stuffing and cranberry sauce while the turkey is cooking.  Lynn, roll out the dough for the pumpkin pies and prepare the punkin’ goop.  Cathy, mix the chocolate cake batter and find the putter-onner-thingee for the icing.  *Billy, you go play in the traffic.”

WhatIsIt? (N):  \what-is-it\

My Mom’s wonderful Mexican dish with mystery ingredients that corresponded to whatever was in the cabinet and fridge.

Mom was a great cooker of Okie soul food.  Her turkey & dressing, chocolate cake, black-eyed peas, mashed potatoes and fried chicken (the latter from her cast iron skillet) were to die for.

Because we loved TexMex and had no money to eat out, Mom would dig out the big ol’ Pyrex thingees when she was running out of real food, dump everything she had left in the cabinet and cover it with cheese, salsa and Doritos, and then bake at 350 degrees for who knows how long?  The result was WhatIsIt, a scrumptious OkieTexMex dish that was hard to describe and never included the same ingredients twice.

Fridge-imigator (N): \fridge\ih\mah\gay\tor\

The big fridge freezer in the kitchen (NOT to be confused with the big ol’ deep freezer in the garage).

“Put the Colorado Kool-aids in the fridge-imigator so they are nice and cold by the time I get through supervising your Dad,” my Dad’s cousin would say, as he handed me the sack of Colorado Kool-aids and began to supervise my Dad.

Dooberable (N): \doo-burr-able\

An idget high school football player: usually a senior who was up to no good.

When Gene Corrotto, Norman High’s legendary football coach, had had about enough of his senior’s shenanigans, he’d make everybody take a knee.  Wearing his most puckered-up, sour face, and slapping his white towel in disgust, he’d begin his slow, Yoda-like lecture:

“Fellahs. What’s wrong with you?  You’re acting like a bunch of dooberables, like you don’t have any sense.  Is that how you want to go through life, with people thinking you’re a dooberable?  After about 5 minutes, he’d spit, and end his gridiron soliloquy with:  “Now fellahs, if you don’t stop acting like dooberables, somebody’s going to hit you right in the jewel box. You know what that is?  It’s where you keep your family jewels.”

Catiwonkus (D.O.) : cat-ee-won-kus\

A terrible state of disorder or brokenness.

“Don’t ever even think about trying to rewire your house by yourself.  Electrical is all specialized, and if you try to do it yourself, it will go all catiwonkus on you.”

Puker-duker (N): \poo\ker\do\ker

A wonderful little boy.

“The neighbor’s little toe-headed boy is quite a little puker-duker, always going 100 miles an hour.”

Learn-you-gooder (V): learn\u\good\er 

An important life lesson.

“I told you you’d stub your toe if you let that neighbor boy pull you behind his car on your skateboard.  That’ll learn-you-gooder.”

A bushel and a peck (N): \a bush-ul-and-a-peck\

A way to measure love, which must be sung by your Mom.

“I love you a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck, and a hug around the neck.”

Bukhum hole (N): \boo\kum\hole

That thing on your backside that you are never meant to see, but which you need to worry about.

“You need to be careful about lifting all those weights when you’re working out.  If you lift too much it’ll make you bukhum hole stick way out and you’ll have to go to the doctor.  You don’t want to do that.”

Funny, that I may not be able to think of the right word for something today, but all of these “Okie-isms” are still top-of-mind.


*  OK, Mom did not actually say “go play in the traffic”; it was implied.


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