Sunday, August 06, 2006

Boston for Dummies

A guide to Bawstin for all of you who weren't bon heah
Stolen from John Powers, Boston Globe, and modified mercilessly by me.

You probably know that Boston doesn’t exactly work the same way as the rest of the world. It can be disorienting to the uninitiated, so I’ve prepared this little guide.

By the time you finish, you'll also be able to tell Southie from the South End, know how to pronounce Gloucester and who should have been at first base instead of Bill Buckner.

You'll know who the cahdnal is, how to take the T to JP and what the blinking red light atop the old Hancock Building means in the summer. And if you're smaht, you'll know how not to get cahded at the packie.

Herewith, a survival guide to Bawstin...

How we tok:

We don't speak English. We speak whatever the hell they brought over here from East Anglia in 1630. The Bawstin accent is basically the broad A and the dropped R, which we add to words ending in A - pahster, Cuber, soder, idear. For the broad A, just open your mouth and say ''ah,'' like the doctah says. So car is cah, park is pahk. If you want to talk like the mayah, repeat after me: ''My ahnt takes her bahth at hahpast foah. ''

When we say: \ We mean:

bzah\ odd

Bahnie \ Asshole from Cambridge, especially a Hahvahd asshole

cohna\ corner

flahwiz\ roses, etc.

hahpahst\ 30 minutes after the hour

Hahwahya?\ How are you?

In town \ In the city of Boston, esp. downtown, and most often used as "I'm goin into town"

irregardless \ without regard to - irrespective of

khakis\ what we staht the cah with

Packie \ packaged liquor store

pissa\ superb

retahded\ silly

regulah\ medium sized coffee, light with milk or half-and-half, and two sugars

shuah\ of course

So don't I \ so do I (and other positive negative transpositions like "could care less / couldn't care less"

"Up tha" or "Down tha" \ specifying a location "He lives up the country" for someone living in the rural areas in central New Hampshire or "It's down the beach" for the clam box on Wollaston beach in Quincy.

wikkid\ extremely

yiz\ you, plural

How we'll know you wehen't bon heah:

You wear a Harvard sweatshirt.

You cross at a crosswalk.

You ask directions to ''Cheers.''

You order a grinder and a soda.

You pronounce them ''Worchester” and “Glowchester”

You walk the Freedom Trail.

You call it ''Copely'' Square.

You go to BU and your name isnt Kim, Lee, or Wong.

A place name pronunciation guide:

Berlin: BER-lin.
Billerica: Bill-ricka or B'ricka
Cochituate: Co-CHIH-chew-it
Concord: CON-cud
Duxbury: Ducks-bree (applies to all other -bury places, except Newbury -the town, not the street- which actually pronounces -berry, because they're stuck up assholes)
Gloucster: GLAWS-tuh
Leicester: Lestuh
Leominster: Lemon-stuh
Norfolk: Norfork, Nor-F'K or Nor-folk
Peabody: Pea-B'dee
Ponkapoag: Ponk-ah-pog
Quincy: QUIN-zee
Waltham: Wall-tham
Wampanoag: Wahm-pah-nog
Woburn: WU-bin
Worcester: Wuhstah or Wihstah
Quahog: KO-hog or Kwa-hog
Squantum: Skwa-num

Getting around:

Boston is a mishmosh of 17th-century drunken cow paths and 19th-century landfill penned in by water. You know, ''One if by land, two if by sea.'' Charlestown? Cahn't get theyah from heah. And which Warren Street do you want? We have three plus three Warren Avenues, three Warren Squares, a Warren Park, and a Warren Place.

Pay no attention to the street names. There's no school on School Street, no court on Court Steet, no dock on Dock Square, no water on Water Street.

Back Bay streets are in alphabetical odda. Arlington, Berkeley, Clarendon, Dartmouth. So are South Boston streets: A, B, C, D. If the streets are named after trees (Walnut, Chestnut, Cedar), you're on Beacon Hill. If they're named after poets, you're in Wellesley.

Just about every street is one way. Get used to it.

No, really, you cahnt get theyah from heah.

Dot is Dorchester, Rozzie is Roslindale, JP is Jamaica Plain. Readville doesn't exist.

Trust me on this one, if you aren’t a native, don’t even bother trying to drive here. You’ll just end up hurt and confused.

The North-East- South-West thing:

Southie is South Boston. The South End is the South End.

The North End is east of the West End.

The West End is no more. A guy named Rappaport got rid of it one night.

Eastie is East Boston. The East End is Boston Harbor.

The south shore is where people with money move to to get away from Boston.

The north shore is where people with big hair and yellow IROC Zs move to to get away from Boston.

About our ''cuisine'':

Boston cream pie is a cake. None of us eat it anyway, we just get the donuts from Dunkins.

Speaking of donuts, cruellers... yeah

Frappes have ice cream; milk shakes don't.

They ahent sprinkles, theyah Jimmies, get it right yeh retahd.

Chowdah does not come with tomatoes.

You’ll get a coffee regulah at Dunkins and you’ll like it dammit.

It’s not a “hoagie” or a “hero”, It’s a Sub, a Grinder, or a Spukie if youah in Dot, the Noath End, or Summahville.

Soda is club soda. Pop is your Dad. If it's fizzy and flavored, it's tonic. When we mean tonic water, we say tonic water.

Scrod is whatever they tell you it is, usually fish. If you paid more than $6 a pound, you got scrod.

Brown bread comes in a can. You open both ends, push it out, heat it, and eat it with baked beans.

They're hot dogs. Franks were people who lived in France in the ninth century.

Ah-So sauce is not racist, it’s tasty.

Things not to do:

Don't call it Beantown.

Don't pahk your cah in Hahvid Yahd. They'll tow it to Meffa.

Don't swim in the Charles, no matter what they tell you.

Don't sleep in the Common.

Don't wear orange in Southie on St. Patrick's Day.

Don't call the mayah ''Mumbles.'' He hates that.

Don't make fun of the Staties uniforms. They hate that, and they can beat the crap out of you and get away with it.

Things you should know:

There are two State Houses, two City Halls, two courthouses, two Hancock buildings. There's also a Boston Latin School and a Boston Latin Academy. How should we know which one you mean?

Mass ave. runs through every city and town west of Boston until you hit the misissippi river. It changes numbering every time you cross a town border.

Route 128 is also I-95. It is also I-93. It’s also Route 3, Route 1, and Route 27.
Oh and its pronounce “root” not “rout”, and it "The 93" not I-93.

It's the Sox, the Pats (or Patsies), the Seltz, the Broons.

The Harvard Bridge goes to MIT. It's measured in `smoots.'

The subway doesn't run all night. This isn't Noo Yawk.

It's Comm Ave, Mass Ave and Dot Ave.

Yaz wore 8, Ted wore 9.

The drinking age is 21. If you use a fake ID, make sure it isn't from Mississippi.

To get back to Logan from BC, take the Green Line to the Blue Line - then grab the bus.


The Hub: A Bostonian once called this city the Hub of the Universe. It was - in 1775.

Yes, we really had a molasses flood, in 1919. 21 people died, and the north end was covered in molasses 3 feet deep. Yes, the north end realy does STILL smells like molasses, at least when the dead fish, garlic, and paving tar smells dissipate.

The Big Dig: The downtown highway project that's taking longer and costing more than it should, to the tune of 25 years and 14 BILLION dollars. The latest excuse for why traffic here is bzah.

The old Hancock Building lights are actually a weather forecast: ''Steady blue, clear view/Flashing blue, clouds due/Steady red, rain ahead/Flashing red, snow instead. '' In the summer, flashing red means the Sox home game has been called off.