As you may recall from years past, it has become something of a Christmas tradition for me to compile a list of ten of my family's sayings/catchphrases/words of wisdom/what have you.
It's called Bjorklundosophy.
Somehow, we are on volume IV.
If you have not had the pleasure of reading volume I, volume II, and volume III, I would strongly encourage you to do so before embarking on volume IV. It will make a lot more sense.
So, with that being said, please enjoy Bjorklundosophy: Volume IV!
Note to self.
“Note to self” is not specific to the Bjorklunds – you have likely heard it uttered before when someone wants to remember something important. However, in Bjorklundese, this particular phrase was coined in New Orleans in December 2009. Tim had made the journey to Louisiana to travel back with Calla from her unpaid internship (SIGH) at the New Orleans Museum of Art. On their last night, they witnessed a large cockroach skitter across the floor of our Super 8 room. The next morning, Tim brought this unpleasant experience up to the manager, who compensated for the ick factor with 30% off the bill. Surprised by the amount of the discount, Calla said, “Note to self: always mention cockroaches.” Not that there has been an occasion to mention cockroaches since, but just in case. “Note to self” has since survived on its own and can be heard in utterances such as “note to self: moonshine tastes best on the beach” or “note to self: never go up against Steve and Deb Groon in Cards Against Humanity.”
I miss Buddy.
Once upon a time, Calla went to school at the University of Minnesota, Morris. During her senior year, she lived in a run-down house with her friends Nate and Sara. During the winter break of the 2008/2009 school year, said friend Nate came to visit Calla at the Bjorklund house in Arlington en route to a visit to SDSU in Brookings. Nate stayed overnight at the house that evening - he was in the small downstairs guestroom affectionately named “the doghouse.” The next morning, Calla was quietly awaiting Nate’s awakening when Tim asked, “When is Nate leaving?” Calla responded that he was still asleep in the basement, to which Tim replied, “Isn’t that his car driving away right now?” Calla rushed to the window, and sure enough, Nate’s black Honda Civic was speeding out of the driveway. This was the Bjorklunds’ introduction to the Pfeifle goodbye. Fast forward to spring 2009: Nate adopted a neurotic black lab named Buddy. Tim quickly used Buddy as a means to remind Nate of that fateful non-goodbye: “say hi to Buddy for me” and “tell Buddy goodbye!” After college, Buddy went to live with Nate’s family, hence the current iteration of the long-evolving Buddy joke: “I miss Buddy.” Nate, a great friend of the Bjorklund family, knows he will never live this down.
Consider the source.
This is one of the few Bjorklund catchphrases that we all would do well to remember in everyday life. Coined by Tim longer ago than any of us can remember, “consider the source” urges you to – duh – consider the source. When you consider your source, many offensive statements are negated if you realize that the offender is actually a terrible person and full of shit. Remember this simple phrase and save yourself mountains of mental anguish.
Prove me wrong.
“Prove me wrong” is an expression primarily attributed to Brenda, used only in conversations with Tim. “Prove me wrong” is a (so far) fool-proof method to cut short any challenge to the validity of a story. It is important to note that “prove me wrong” must never be used when wrong could actually be proven – it is only effective when proving or disproving the disputed fact is not possible, and therefore Brenda is assumed right. Take notes: this is expert-level debate.
The Bjorklunds are a family of many traditions. One such tradition is the annual pilgrimage (with Don and Carol Clelland) to Hot Dog Night in Luverne, Minnesota: home of James and Calla. Hot Dog Night is an odd small-town festival in which all the local businesses give away hot dogs. It’s weird, but like a lot of weird things, that’s what makes it endearing. One Hot Dog Night, James decided that free hot dogs were not enough for the esteemed visitors: no, he would make ribs as well. Carol took one bite of said ribs and immediately moaned, “Oh, JAMES!” She, of course, was referring to the excellent job he had done with the ribs, but the phrase and the tone of voice put this expression squarely into innuendo territory. And now, whenever anything is mentioned about Hot Dog Night or ribs or Carol or James or James’s cooking, someone is quick to say, “Oh, JAMES!”
Pick that scab!
This phrase is most commonly used in regards to some anecdote of origins long-past that Tim is loathe to forget. “Pick that scab” refers specifically to transgressions and wrongdoings, but such offenses are hilarious enough to those that did not experience them that they can be brought out of storage for a much-needed laugh. However, certain stories, though years old, will elicit the expression “pick that scab!” as though the wrongdoing has just been done. And due to the sheer number/entertainment value of such tales of Tim's woe, scabs are quite often being picked.
What’s your point?
Much like “prove me wrong,” “what’s your point” is a tried-and-true argument ender. “What’s your point” can be employed when something rather obvious is used in light verbal sparring (as theBjorklunds are known to do often). However, “what’s your point” refers specifically to a statement that the speaking party feels is a shortcoming, but the responding party sees as a good thing. For example, Brenda may state that Tim is typically the last person to leave a social function because he is chatting. Tim then will say, “What’s your point?” Brenda's statement is then invalidated because Tim takes no offense and already knows this to be true. Expert-level debate again.
Get me a bucket.
“Get me a bucket” was coined in reference to the utterly disappointing and gut-churningly saccharine selection of greeting cards available in your average store. When you thrive on sarcasm and harbor a thinly-veiled distaste for false emotion (I’m looking at YOU, greeting card industry), there are few cards that you feel comfortable giving without physically gagging. The subject of the actual card for which “get me a bucket” was first used has been lost to the ages, but it has become a staple for card-giving occasions. (See: The Great Anniversary Card Search of 2017.) When it comes to cards for their children, Tim and Brenda (thanks to this phrase) have taken an innovative approach. Should an acceptable greeting card evade them, Tim and Brenda have taken to finding the most egregious offender and simply writing “get me a bucket” on the inside. Thus, the card is transformed into a mockery of itself, and all is right with the world.
Can you read sign language?
Despite all the uncouth things we say and do, we very rarely mean offense when they speak. That being said, the occasion does arise (nine times of out then, when Brenda is talking to Tim) when there is no good way to respond but with the finger. However, instead of actually GIVING the finger, we instead say, “Can you read sign language?” While on the surface more polite than the actual finger, when this phrase is invoked, there is no question as to its underlying meaning – which is not polite at all.
Like you, James.
The newest phrase in the Bjorklund arsenal, “Like you, James” was born on Mother’s Day 2016 in the parking lot of Lange’s Café in Pipestone, Minnesota. James and Calla met Tim, Brenda, and Mitch in Pipestone for Mother’s Day brunch, and as they were saying their goodbyes in the parking lot, Tim and James dissolved into gasping hyena laughter. Unbeknownst to Mitch, Brenda, and Calla, instead of the “love you” given to his kids at departure, Tim had instead jokingly said, “Like you, James.” James and Tim both thought this was hilarious – as they would say later, “You had to be there.” Now, this has evolved into Tim and James’s standard goodbye: “Like you, James.” “Like you, Tim.”
There you have it: ten more Bjorklund family mantras. Stay tuned... volume V is already in the works!