At BYU-Idaho, the head of the English department is Brother Merrill. I have no idea how he managed to get that job, considering how incredibly disorganized and off-topic he is, but perhaps it's because he's a very personable and hilarious and smart. He does love the subject, particular Old English stuff, a lot.
I took a class with him this past semester, History of the English Language, and I was totally thrown off at first. As someone who tends to be very organized and scheduled when it comes to schoolwork, dealing with him caused me anxiety. Brother Merrill has a habit of forgetting to put anything up on iLearn, including the quizzes, and he changes his plans all of the time. Once I realized he wasn't going to penalize us for it, I stopped being so edgy. Still, to say, "Oh, yes, that quiz that's due tomorrow isn't up yet, so probably it won't actually be due for another week," is counterintuitive for someone like me.
But people really love Brother Merrill, because he is a genuinely great guy. Also, again, hilarious. One of the things I also had a hard time with at first was keeping track of what notes to take and what information I needed for the quizzes, because Brother Merrill goes on tangents all the time. A lot of the time, really random, ridiculous ones. Half the time the class was bowled over with hopeless laughter.
So after a few weeks, being me, I started writing down the stuff he said in my journal, and today, I'm going to share it with you! For reference, this is a video of him reciting Beowulf in a Viking helmet. It's also possibly the most serious I've ever seen him. Please note that there are a lot of quotes below, and also that they are not verbatim, as it was very hard to write fast enough to keep up with Brother Merrill. Still, you'll get the gist. All of this was spoken by this guy in very proper grammatical English.
*For a part two to this post, click here.*
STUFF BROTHER MERRILL SAYS
"Every parent has a favorite child. You cannot deny it. You can say, 'You are all my favorite,' but there's always one: 'And you, my dear, are my most favorite favorite.'"
"Who names their kid 'Mitt'? His parents deserve, perhaps not to be slapped, but talked to sternly. I just want to bury them alive and laugh as the ground moves less and less. Stop making up names, you Mormons!"
"My middle name is 'A,' just 'A', and it confuses people, because there's no period. It doesn't stand for anything, so they put it in quotes. Like, Darrin 'A' Merrill, as if it were dubious."
"No, but there's this awesome Wheat Thins commercial I have to show you guys. It has a Yeti in it!" *shows us the commercial*
"WATCH THIS HILARIOUS SATANIC PARODY OF THE BOOK OF MORMON COMMERCIALS OUR CHURCH DOES." *shows the video*
"Well, now that there's a video, it must be watched! We can't help it! Videos are not made not to be watched!" *brings up a Schoolhouse Rock video about adverbs and Dracula*
"Look at this Bugs Bunny clip! This is how Vikings should be."
Regarding Famous People
"If I could take Leo DiCaprio and beat someone with him, it would be Channing Tatum."
"Hitler was a human buttwipe."
"I want to have a barbecue with Alfred the Great. He'd probably bring some beef and say, 'I didn't want you to have to get all the meat yourself.' A good guy. Good guy!"
"Fitzwilliam Darcy, that bastard."
"I don't mean I'm attracted to Thor, but I wish I had his glorious Scandinavian physique, instead of this Stay-Puft form that can be destroyed by the Ghostbusters."
Regarding Religion and Morality
"Our idol, today, is leadership. We worship that more than anything else. The Golden Calf's name was 'Leader-o.'"
"Other than cannibalism, the Power 2 Be Conference is the biggest anathema to righteousness."
"If barbarians invade and they call you 'barbaric,' you should probably take a look at your practices."
"The thumb is a scandalous body part."
"Winkin', blinkin', and noddin'. It's like a High Priest meeting. Three people arguing about Kolob while the rest sleep."
"The order of the commandments. First--linguistic economy. Second--don't use expletives. Third--precision of language. Fourth--love God with all your might, mind, and strength. No, I'm kidding. Maybe."
"We want to go into Syria and we have a hammer and everything is nails."
"Maybe police are called 'bobbies' in England because they were all named 'Roberto.'"
"So first we had one dog, and she was a sex addict. I swear, she got out one night and had sex with every dog up and down the street, Great Danes and chihuahuas alike. Some of that copulation had to have occurred through fences. We ended up with a litter of puppies, all with different fathers, and so we gave them out in the parking lot. There was one really dumb, ugly one, though, that no one wanted, so we kept him and named him 'Thor.' It's ironic, because he's a coward."
"Dolphins are pervs. No, I'm serious! Look it up. They just want to hump everything."
"We are in a great war for the world's resources, between us humans and the insect population. This is why we must become reluctant allies with the spiders. They eat the insects, and thus we remain top of the food chain."
"Dogs will eat anything. Poop? Sure. The cat's poop? Sure. Vomit? Sure. Another dog's vomit? Yesss. Litter boxes are their favorite. Yummy, yummy! Free buffet!"
"Say it like you're a cat hissing at a parrot. Or perhaps a parrot hissing at a cat!"
"A fart is a snort from the backside!"
"I always laugh at a fat bee when it lands on a flower, and the flower buckles. Bad for the self-image."
"Italian bees are nicer than Russian bees. Just ply them with wine, and they're fine."
"I'm going to get a fish and call it 'Mamnu.'"
"In the early days, churches didn't have organs. They just squeezed a parrot. 'Squawk squawk squawk!' But that's still a thing. We all know that one old lady in the choir, who probably used to have a lovely singing voice, but age comes, and now she sounds sort of like that parrot."
"Cats are great at killing rats. You use them as a bat and smash all the rats."
"Avoid the temptation to chase this squirrel through the forests of Scandanavia."
"We are the top of the food chain! We are the most evolved! We have big brains! You go up to that elk you bludgeon it with your massively developed brain!"
"Scotch thistle is a plant with an ax to grind."
Regarding Personal Experiences
"I went to this one part of town, and there were Asian tourists everywhere checking out the Scandinavians."
"When I was growing up, the Nii family lived in my town. They were sumo wrestlers. Jeff was so big, we had to squish him into a triple XXL helmet to play football. He played college, but you know, knees [Niis]. They go out."
"You ever stand around with returned missionaries who are talking in Japanese together, and you're like, 'Hello. We are standing right here, do you mind letting us into the conversation, dickwads?' and if not, 'go take a hot shower together and leave us alone.' Sorry. Sorry. Is that too strong? It just really annoys me."
"I once worked with a Wiccan who had a cat as a familiar. I told a story about a cat I'd killed in order to protect my toddler brother, and she filed a grievance for a hostile work environment."
"I drove to Salt Lake with a Satanist once."
"Cockroach lasagna, yum yum. Plenty of protein. Quite good for you!"
"Bacon, for example, did not used to be delicious fried pork, but referred to Francis Bacon, whom I imagine would also be tasty if fried."
"You can baka a bakalava!"
Regarding Educational Stuff
"I brought an ax to class today, see?" *brandishes ax* "Why? Because I wanted to."
"I have my smelly markers and I'm going double barrel. Get high!" *wafts markers through air*
"You will get extra credit if, in the process of your project, you call someone a 'dork' to their face."
"Procrastination is the fourth innate human instinct. The order is reproduce, eat, run from things that want to kill you, and put stuff off."
"I used to put up sample papers, but then the student essays would be peppered with my own language. No! No, I say! I get an A!"
"Unless it will cost you a thousand dollars, I'm asking you to stay until the end of the term for the final. Tough it out! It's character building! You know what, I'll even stay here with you. I'll do that for you."
"If education is a cow, we're trying to milk every last delicious drop."
"If your grade is higher than you expected, know that this is me, licking your boots."
"Watching Eastern Germanic die is like watching the last dodo go--crying plaintively for a mate that never comes, and then it gets eaten because it's a big, stupid bird."
"Bingewatch. I bingewatched. She is bingewatching. We have bingewatched. I am a bingewatcher."
"I was watching BYUTV, which makes you feel more like a cult than anything else in the Church, and they used the dummy auxiliary 'do'--Do not use that. It's terrible. EXORCISE it from your language, you understand?--with the active verb 'do.' So my wife came in and saw me laughing on the couch. She asked, 'Why are you laughing?' and I pointed at the TV, still giggling, and told her, 'They said "do do."'"
"Let's bust the candy out of this Old English pinata."
"The Saxons thought, 'All these years we've worshiped these turkeys, and they've given us jack. They're just too petulant.' So they all converted to Christianity!"
"We have to abandon our concept of language and instead make a sound like an old lady. 'Eeeehh?'"
"English's laziness knows no bounds." / "English is like a lazy seven-year-old."
"The VIkings turned Old England into Detroit."
"This is why English's immune system is so strong--it eats dirt." / "English is a language like a virus that adapts to its host."
"This letter looks like a balloon that's been let go, and there's a child--'waaaaaaaa!'"
"French borrowings lead to unpatriotic endings!"
"Spencer's poetry is 37 cantos of brownnosing."
"Our linguistic liver is laden with lesions smothered with 'do'! 'Do' has integrated into the language so much we are now like Captain Pike overtaken by Romulans."
"Anglo Sockson--stiff and uncomfortable hose. They smell bad, but we were glad to have them because the Anglo Shoen came behind them."
"When those red squiggles appear in Microsoft Word, it either means there's an error, or I take it as a compliment. Because I know bigger words than Microsoft Word does."
"'O' is the vulture of vowels. The jackal, the raven, the coyote of vowels."
"I taught my children the word 'beshat' and now they're going to get in trouble at school."
"I would love to be able to say, 'It was a gay extravaganza!' and not have it mean some kind of homoerotic orgy!"
"Why is this word bad and this one good? Why is 'linoleum' so much fun to say?"
"Wait, why are we talking about bees? Oh, yes, the Greeks."
"'Enumerate' is fun to say, but 'linoleum.' That's a word you wrap your whole face around. I wish it were the name of a famous conqueror. 'Linoleum the Great.' That would be sweet."
"There aren't enough words in our very capable language to describe how dumb people are."
"Modern linguistic trends are like penguin babies: squeaky and unnecessary, and causing you to vomit in your gullet."
"Some dictionaries are like a horrible drug overdose."
"I play Legend of Zelda, but it's not nearly as enjoyable as tracing words to their Proto Indo-European roots."
"Wales: 'yes, I live in Slavelandia.' It used to have a cool name, and now it's Slaveland."
"'This car needs fixed.' It sounds like you're trying to keep it from reproducing."
"After watching something Southern, you start using 'cotton' as a verb."
"I can't say I'm wearing a thong, because people don't want to think about that. But it's like I'm wearing nothing at all... on my feet!"
Dear goodness, I forgot how ridiculous that was. Hope you enjoyed, if you lasted that out, and I'll see you again Tuesday.
Image via byui.edu.
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