mondegreen: [noun] a word or phrase that results from a mishearing of something said or sung.

I wrote about these anecdotes previously on an earlier incarnation of my blog, but that was years ago, and I rather like these two little stories.

One time when I was phoning my then favorite pizza place, when the woman with a thick Spanish accent answered, I began, “I’d like to place an order for delivery…” 

“Jes’ speak up,” she interrupted.

So I started again. “I’d like to place an order for delivery” 

And again she interrupted but more vehemently. “Jes’ speak up! Jes’ speak up!!” she cried.

At which point I realized she was saying “Just pick up.” 

A few years later I had moved into a house in the Wissahickon area and my parents were coming to visit for the first time. I had cleaned the place from top to bottom, but hadn’t bothered to wipe the stairs leading down into the basement as I didn’t think they needed it. 

Well, my parents arrived and they inspected the place as they usually did, and when we were all coming back up from the basement, my mother let out, “These stairs are so dirty!” 

It was only after they left and I was thinking about what she had said that I realized she was commenting on how the basement stairs were solidly built into the wall rather then being the slightly rickety steps that often characterized basement steps. What she had actually said was, “These stairs are so sturdy!” 

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