I have a few envelopes stuffed with the “pocket papers” I used to carry around to jot down phone numbers, book titles, and other bits of information I didn’t want to lose, and every once in a while, in a fit of nostalgia, I go through them. The one I have before me is a call slip from Yale University Library (“Books must not be marked, annotated, or defaced in any way”), so it’s presumably from the 1970s, and on its back are scribbled a few items. The first is self-explanatory:
WWI: “If a sgt said, ‘Get your f-ng rifles,’ it was understood as a matter of routine. But if he said, ‘Get your rifles,’ there was an immed. implic. of urgency & danger.”
The second is more cryptic:
kwoy inam (ma) — mild piece of chaffing
kwoy lumata (sis) — very serious
kwoy um’ kwava (wife) — Mal only heard twice; learned of its exist. only after had been long in Trob’s
This turns out to be from Ashley Montagu’s The Anatomy of Swearing (as you can see, I’ve been interested in the topic for a long time); you can read the very instructive passage at Google Books (page 323). And the third is the amusing sentence “If I had a son who was an idiot I would make him a parson”; this turns out to be an anecdote about “that witty clergyman, Sydney Smith,” whose “quick rejoinder” was “Your father was of a different opinion.” Once again, I say thank heavens for the internet!