A few weeks ago, I went to visit my friend Mark in Boston.
Or so I thought.
When my train arrived at South Station, I discovered that Mark no longer exists.
He’s been replaced by some guy named Mahk.
I can only imagine Mark’s identity crisis upon moving to town.
You see, Bostonians don’t believe in the letter R. They avoid it like a panhandler. Sure, it’s there. You just don’t make eye contact.
From what I gather, it all stems from a terrible misunderstanding. During prohibition the government put a ban on alcohol. This meant that all bars were outlawed. Unfortunately, when word came to Boston, there was a bad cell phone connection.
No one has used an R ever since.
I grew up in Baltimore, where the letter R is a perfectly acceptable member of the alphabet.
We PaRk our CaRs at Camden YaRds. We eat chowdeR and lobsteR. They even give us a point if we can use the letter in Scrabble.
So, when I arrived in Boston, the accent was a bit of a culture shock.
It didn’t take long to discover that I had to use the word “bathroom” to describe the restroom facilities. Never “Potty.”
In Boston, a potty has piñatas and pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. Sometimes even potty hats.
“No, you don’t understand,” I’d say, doing the pee pee dance and flailing my arms about. “The potty! The potty! I REALLY need to go!”
The Bostonians would just chuckle and walk away.
“That guy must be a real potty animal.”
At the restaurant, I told the Maitre D’ that, as far as I know, there aren’t any people in my potty. Unless someone broke in, my house was empty. And besides, what does that have to do with dinner? I turned the tables and asked if he had any people in his potty.
The longer you’re in Boston, the more the accent trips you up.
One Bostonian mentioned that Boston Hahbah is protected by the Coast God.
I pictured Poseidon, waist deep in Boston Harbor, holding his trident high above his Red Sox cap. His plastic lobsta bib fluttering in the wind.
This certainly explains why Boston hasn’t come under naval attack since the War of 1812.
I asked if there were any other Gods that I should know about.
The guy thought for a moment, then explained that Right God keeps his armpits from sweating.
I smiled and backed away slowly.
The accent makes ordinary people sound like sheep. Especially on Friday and Saturday nights when everyone’s debating where to go.
“Ah, come on. We ALWAYS go to that baa.”
In Boston, stock is not just something to invest in. It also describes someone who is naked.
The cahpet could be a floor covering, or a covered driveway where you pahk your Fohd Escot.
Here, there’s hot chocolate, which comes in a mug with mahshmellows.
Or there are hot shaped chocolates. These come in a hot shaped box on Valentines Day.
If you visit during summertime and someone is having a hot attack, call an ambulance. Offering them a sip of ice cold lemonade will only be met with profanity.
On Motha’s Day, you go to Hallmahk. Because nothing says “I Love You” like a Motha’s Day Cod.
Mention shock therapy and everyone will look confused. It’s only a moment later that you realize that they’re picturing Jaws lying on a couch, talking to Sigmund Freud.
There’s never been a successful pirate from Boston. This is because they all sound too agreeable.
One girl told me that Boston is a pot city. That, I thought, was kind of cool. That an entire city would declare its allegiance to a single piece of cookware.
I said I couldn’t speak for all of Baltimore, but I personally prefer the 12-inch sautee pan.
She looked at me funny. “No, a POT city. Like the POT of Boston.”
I scratched my head and offered to buy them another pot so they wouldn’t all have to share.
The town names around Boston are also a challenge.
There’s Dorchester, which is pronounced Dohchesta.
But Gloucester is not pronounced Gloucesta. It’s Glosta. The “uce” bit in the middle is silent. (Duh.)
Similarly, people who live in Worcester actually hail from Wusta.
The only explanation I can think of is that people are in a big hurry. There’s no time to be burdened with extraneous syllables.
How else can you explain the town of Peabody? This, I learned, is actually pronounced Peabdy. It’s said as fast as humanly possible in an effort to compress the three-syllable word to just one.
Time is money, I guess.
In Boston, many things are classified as “wicked.” But not in the bad sense. Here, wicked doesn’t mean evil or malicious. It’s an adverb. A synonym for “really.”
Albert Einstein is wicked smaht.
Nighttime is wicked dahk.
Dolly Pahton’s nokas are wicked lodge.
I can only imagine that this confusing use of “wicked” may single handedly be responsible for the Salem witch trials.
It also explains why the Wizard of Oz never took off in Boston.
“What do you mean the wicked witch? The wicked what witch?”
Bad things in Boston are “pissas.” Or “wicked pissas,” if they’re especially unfortunate.
Spilling your beer is a wicked pissa. The presidency of George W. Bush is a wicked pissa. Not making it to your friend’s potty in time is a wicked pissa.
I asked if the Leaning Tower of Pisa was a wicked pissa.
But apparently the people of Boston don’t think I’m wicked funny.
Here are pictures from the weekend:
(The Massachusetts State House)
(The Boston Public Gahden)
(This is the spot where Mahk and Kara got engaged.
All together now: Awwwwwwwwwww.)
(This building is called Motif No. 1. According to Kara, it’s the most photographed/painted building in all of Massachusetts.)
(Mahk and Kara)
On Friday night, we went to Union Oyster House. Open since 1826, it’s the oldest continuously operating restaurant in America. Daniel Webster (of dictionary fame) used to hang out there all the time. He often annoyed fellow diners by getting shitfaced and boasting relentlessly about his “mad Scrabble skillz, yo.” Union Oyster House was also the first place a toothpick was ever used in the United States. This happened just after Charles Foster turned to his friend and said “Hey. You’ve got lobsta in ya teeth.”
Here’s what I ate:
(Mahk with a wicked lodge lobsta)
(Despite the plastic lobsta bib, I still got food on my pants. Pissa.)
(Kara with a wicked spicy scollop)
(Mahk turned his baked potato into a bizzaro sour cream filled submarine. Cause that’s how they roll in Kreamer, PA.)
Lunch on Saturday was at Whiskey’s Smokehouse. Had the pulled pork BBQ.
Dinner was at Fugakyu The place won Best of Boston from Boston Magazine. And for good reason.
(Fried tofu with benito flakes in broth)
(I honestly don’t know what half of these were. There was a spicy tuna roll, a spicy yellowtail roll and a rainbow roll involved. Past that, it’s anyone’s guess. But it all tasted as good as it looks.)
Today’s post has been brought to you by the letter R.