Catch A Phrase

My wife and I continually cycle through our own little catch phrases. Sometimes we borrow them and other times we come up with our own that are so completely original that anyone eavesdropping would surely wonder WTF we were talking about. In either case, catch phrases keep us laughing together and even more importantly help bridge the communication gap that oftentimes exists between man and Venusian...oops, I mean between Martian and woman.

Our latest phrase was derived from a "B" zombie flick that was produced in the Land Down Under. I'm lucky enough to have married a woman who loves watching horror movies just as much as I do. My wife especially loves "B" horrors because she's allowed to talk during without getting in trouble. Okay, so that's not very accurate, but it made me feel kind of macho proclaiming it. In reality, my wife talks when she damned-well wants to. During serious movies I just bite my lip and do my best to stay inside the movie world while also using facial ticks to respond to the outside world where my wife is either declaring something or asking a question. And I'm guilty too, I suppose. My kids are definitely guilty. I suppose we all are.

But when it comes to "B" movies, we go back and forth picking fun and laughing along with director's jabs at humor as well as jabs at intentional drama that fall so flat that they become funny as hell (to us at least). To the point of this post, a couple of months ago we were watching this Aussie zombie flick that had a scene where the non-zombie antagonist leaned close to the female protagonist and whispered into her ear, "I like you...I like you a lot." Now, imagine the line spoken in a very creepy Outback accent. It was hilarious and my wife and I use the phrase almost daily. Only we replace "you" with whatever is contextual for that moment. For instance, taking a bite of ice cream and saying in a hacky Australian accent, "I liiiike it, I like it a lawwwt." You get the picture. It makes us laugh and smile—together and at each other—every time. Yes, we are weird; if only you knew the half of it.

When it comes to fictional characters in story, it's also fun to have them use catch phrases. In Black Machetes, I took two characters that didn't have a lot of dialogue and gave them very simple yet memorable catch phrases that became key devices of the novel. One of the good guys, Octavio, had a habit of always including "hora-le" into any of his dialog. One of the bad guys, Wade, had very little to say (he was a firm believer in action over words) but he had a natural propensity to sneak in "yup" whenever he needed to be heard from. In addition to those two characters, I also created a catch phrase that was shared by the main character and his love interest (Ben + Maddie) and was also shared by the voice of the narrator. The phrase "for the time being" was sometimes spoken near the conclusion of a scene and was used as a device to remind the reader that things get to slide, but only for a while.

Whether in the real world or in the make-believe world, catching a phrase can add subtle tones that have both intrinsic and deeply sentimental value.

Now, what are some your favorite phrases you like to play catch with?