A Leominster man has told of his dismay after a national poll concluded that the rejoinder ‘oo-er missus’ is no longer considered funny.
Local ‘character’ Malcolm Short, 54, settled in the rural border town after retiring as a City banker in 2004. He quickly installed himself as a local wit and bon viveur at his local pub, the Spaniard’s Arms.
“Since then I’ve regaled all-and-sundry with my amusing jokes and anecdotes.” He said, “Often butting into people’s conversations with an amusing ‘that’s the pot calling the kettle black’, ‘sounds like the wife’ or ‘matron!’ So you can imagine how I felt when I heard that my favourite ‘oo-er missus’ is no longer funny.”
With his repertoire depleted, Short believes his customary place propping up the bar to be under threat. “These younger lads are coming in with jokes they’ve been texted or got off the internet. I’ve been telling the same jokes for the last thirty-odd years and have had to rely on my quippage skills to add that extra-funny garnish – I just can’t compete any more.”
‘Oo-er missus’ joins an ever-growing list of near-extinct rejoinders including the once-hilarious but now prehistoric ‘as the actress said to the bishop’. This loss of comedic verbosity is having a devastating effect on pub philosophers such as Malcolm.
“A case in point:” he continued, “I was sat on my stool nursing a real ale the other day when someone came in for a swift half en-route to the bakers. I overheard him telling the barmaid that he was looking forward to getting his hands on some nice big baps, but without my ‘oo-er missus’ I was helpless to interject.”
“By the time I’d thought of something funny to say, someone else piped up with ‘I’d watch out if I was you Brenda,’ before I even had a chance to open my mouth. Something died in me that day.”
(Written 21 Jan 2009)