I sat on the edge of my bed this morning and thought about the unpleasant, energy-devouring items on my agenda for the day: shovel the walk, mow the lawn, call Putin and tell him communism sucks, pressure wash the outhouse, write Canto XXIV to my epic poem “Term or Whole Life,” and, of course, keep trying to divine what my various devices want with my soul.
Weighted down by my burden, I sighed “Oh boy.”
Almost immediately, K-Mac called out from the vault where she was dusting the nest egg, that I’d already sighed ‘Oh boy’ four times today and I was still in my jammies.
“Oh boy,” I thought. “We’re counting sighs today.”
That’s one of the reasons it’s good to have a handful of other sigh words at the ready for this sigh-provoking world of ours. Otherwise your sigh ends up misunderstood and you end up sighing at your inability to sigh meaningfully and you sink into the dangerous quicksand of sighing “Not quicksand again.”
So I thought it high time to offer expert help with my (sigh)
Guideline to correct sighing procedure.
1. A sigh is not a whine
Normally, a wordless sigh is a discrete sound, originating in the lowest register and reminiscent of the growly rhapsody of sloshing and stumbling along life’s low-zone continuum. Like when a pair of tiny metal balls roll around on the bottom of an empty pizza box — a sound so often spoiled when someone says “Hey, are these your tiny balls?”
Rather, think of a sigh as the slow release of steam from a locomotive, or from a depressed zoo gorilla who stares glassy eyed at camera-aiming tourists asking him to say cheese, to which he responds “Sheesh.”
In comparison, a whine is like the sound you get when the violin section at the symphony is tuning up just as an escaped zoo gorilla comes out of nowhere (actually, the zoo) charges the stage, breaks the maestro’s wand, grabs the first chair violin by his rungs and tunes him to high C above W.
2. The most effective sighs use sigh words
Sighing without using special sigh words undermines one’s ability to prove that one exists. (It does for me, anyway.) Often, a wordless sigh is misunderstood as a moan, causing idiots nearby to moan “Quit your damn moaning.”
Even a wordless moan (Ernnnnnnnnn) does not give the satisfaction of a sigh enhanced by a message-specific sigh word or phrase such as:
• Oh boy (sometimes “Huh boy,” or “I gotta kill that boy, I just gotta.”)*
• Oh man (Aw man, man overboard, Manfred von Richtofen)
• I’m going to take poison now, I swear
• What crap (break this up every now and then with a snappy modifier: What absolute crap)
• What a leaf blower
3. Keep a safe and neutral sigh word handy.
Certain verbiage or adverbiage, even adjectivebidge can push some listeners into pre-mature death throes. If, as you begin your sigh, you see apoplexy hovering over your intended target, you can quickly cover by replacing a word like dick with dipthong. Or cock, with cockpthong.
Example: Let’s say you wanted to sigh out that so and so is a complete deck head (nudge nudge, wink wink). Remember the simple rule “i before e, except after c, or when sounded like dick not deck, or whatever.”
4. Punch up your sigh with a famous name from history.
One of my favorite historical sighs goes “What the Dwight D. Ike is he talking about?” Or, try these:
- Mother of Stonewall Jackson
- For the love of Cherry Garcia
- The Monster that devoured Cleveland
- President Donald Cockpthong
5. A sigh is not rooted in anger, but in love
Example: “Oh for the love of God (sometimes Mike)” which is rooted in loving frustration, which is rooted in a loveless, though lovingly appropriate anger, which is rooted in our deep-seated fear of nuns. (Holy Mary, Mother of Larry)
Remember, no quiver of arrows, no arsenal of freedom, no bag of charcoal briquettes, no string of quarterback audibles (Omaha, Omaha, South Sioux City, Fort Calhoun, Omaha) should be let loose without a stinging assemblage of vicious sigh words.
And now, time to get out of my jammies. Hey, who just sighed Huh boy?
*A tip of the hat to Herbert T. Gillis, WWII vet with a good conduct medal.
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2019, all rights reserved.