I pert near misunderstood what he was saying. Then I recalled that ''worsh'' is something one generally undertakes with soap, water and a worsh rag.
Once I remembered that, everything was finer than frog's teeth and the conversation no longer plodded along with all the grace of a cub bear in boxing gloves, as my dad would say.
There's been a lot of hullabaloo over a TV show planned this fall that is called - and let me paraphrase it here - ''Things My Dad Says.'' The original word is not ''Things.'' The show is based on a Twitter site - seriously - of the same name created by a guy who just tweets rants and phrases yelled by his cantankerous father.
It got me to thinking about the odd phrases that abounded in my extended family.
Even among my friends, ''pert near'' wasn't common usage. In the extended family, we knew it meant ''almost,'' as in ''pretty near.''
When I learned to spell, I noticed there was no ''R'' in worsh. Turns out the word is wash.
They were just things my family said.
Some of my friends swore I was hatched in some hills somewhere. That's malarkey. I grew up in northeast Ohio, less than 10 miles south of the shores of Lake Erie.
I know for a fact that Coke and Pepsi are a form of drink known as pop. My daughter now lives in Virginia Beach. She calls it soda, which is something only a dingleberry would do.
My uncle Tommy was fond of calling me a ''flop-eared, lame-brained, flat-headed, fuzzy-nosed, knock-kneed, pigeon-toed nincompoop.'' Or, if he was in a hurry, he'd just say, ''Hullo, Uglier-Than-Me.''
Dad often told Mom, ''Don't look at me in that tone of voice.''
I once tried to describe an ailment to my dad.
''It hurts when I move my arm like this,'' I said.
''Then don't move your arm like that,'' he said. His medical advice: ''That'll feel better when it stops hurting.''
Growing up on our small, family farm gave us kids plenty of chances to do things like forget to close the pasture gate, allowing the cows to escape, or accidentally scoop the grain into the water bucket instead of the feed box.
''If that boy had a brain, he'd be dangerous,'' Dad told Mom.
When my cousins would come over to help with chores, Dad would repeat something he heard from his pappy - ''One boy is worth half a man. Two boys are worth half a boy. Three boys are no help at all.''
But at least by this time Dad and I both had learned that the first president's name was George WASHington, not WORSHington, so at least the things I said no longer amused my friends so much.
Then one day at college, I told my friends I take the stairsteps. They snickered. Well, OK, they laughed uproariously.
''What?'' I asked.
''Stairs ARE steps. You take the stairs. Which are steps. Stairsteps is like saying motorcar or ...
Then, one my friends tripped on the stairsteps and tumbled down.
''Ow!'' he yelled. ''That hurt!''
From my years of training with thing things my family says, I was ready:
''Then what'd ya do it for?'' I asked.
Yep, the old sayings still work. They're slicker than snot on a doorknob.
----- Converse with Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org.