For what it’s worth, the following story really took place. I am not making up a word of this.
At a family gathering about 20 years ago, several of us were sitting around the kitchen table when the talk turned to plastic surgery. My father-in-law, Don, expressed his overall opinion on the subject by rattling his tea cup and saying “Hrumf” — or something so close to “Hrumf” that only linguists could tell the difference.
Really anal linguists, at that.
But while Don seemed perfectly content to let “Hrumf” convey every nuanced argument of his position, his wife, Ruth, began telling us about one of Don’s relatives who, due to lack of money, had undergone plastic surgery in a rather piece-meal fashion.
“She got one side of her mouth done,” said Ruth.
“Hrumf,” said Don.
“And one of her eyes.”
“Oh, for –”
“And one side of her face.”
Finally it was too much for Don.
“For God’s sake, Ruth,” he barked. “She didn’t have plastic surgery, she had a stroke!”
I actually fell off the chair.
No word of a lie.