Creative Insults

“Take a long walk down a short pier.”

“Go piss up a rope.”

This person grew up hearing his grandmother constantly say these insults to those who inconvenience her. From this, his whole family began to say these to others as well, and even he still says them to this day. Each time he says one, he immediately thinks of his grandmother and her Irish Catholic background. It also emphasizes that she has a strong connection to her Boston background because of the blunt style this language is often associated with.

While these insults can seem harsh, the relationship that this person, and his family, has to them show a strong familial connection and importance in his life. Like most folklore, these insults were passed down essentially as familial tradition as they had an obvious influence in shaping the communication style (insulting) that the family members gradually took up and will most likely continue to use, passing them on to others in their lives. Furthermore, folklore is often seen as having oral traditions, as much of it is told throughout history by word of mouth, being passed down generations and from community to community, just as these insults have done. Additionally, the insults the grandmother uses represents her cultural identity, likely coming from her upbringing and environment living in Boston and being an Irish Catholic. Through these verbal insults, she is able to share this identity and transmit these elements of herself to others, exhibiting common folklore themes of generational sharing, word of mouth, and cultural adaptations. Finally, when I was told about this piece of folklore in this person’s life, I too had heard these insults as I also grew up in Boston, and it brought back many memories that I have with my own friends and family surrounding these phrases!