Here in Eastern Kentucky, just as in other parts of the galaxy, we have our own colloquialisms. We also have particular definitions for words and phrases. For example, instead of “I don’t mind to” we say “I don’t care to” when asked to perform a task. I didn’t realize that one caused mass confusion until I was well into adulthood. Several folks who weren’t from around here told me they couldn’t understand why so many people were refusing their requests for help with a cheerful “I don’t care to.”
Now, at my advanced age, I’ve learned of another definition that appears to be unique to this area.
This started with my bestie sending me a message, telling me she needed to ask me about “goosing” and that she would do so in person. Intrigued, I added it to our list of people, places, and things to discuss during our road trip. When she made a detour to pick me up on our journey to visit our other bestie, I asked, “What’s this about goosing?”
At that point, she asked me to define goosing.
I said it meant tickling.
My bestie, who is not from Eastern Kentucky, and her husband, who is from Eastern Kentucky, came to the area a few weeks ago for a funeral. During the funeral, the preacher shared an anecdote about how the deceased was once goosed at work.
This story confused my bestie. Indeed, on the way home, she asked her husband why the preacher had told a story about a man having his rear end grabbed. In addition, she wondered why the congregation had laughed and laughed at such a story.
This led to a spirited debate between said bestie and her husband over the meaning of goosing. He maintained it means tickling. She maintained it means grabbing someone by his or her behind. To prove her point, she consulted online dictionaries. The dictionaries backed up her claim. Her husband responded by telling her to ask me. After all, he reasoned that tickling must be the Eastern Kentucky definition of goosing.
That’s why my bestie cursed. Her husband was right.
When my bestie and I arrived at our destination, we asked our other bestie, who is also not from Eastern Kentucky, for her definition of goosing. She said it means grabbing someone by the expletive. She also demonstrated with a hand motion, just so there would be no misunderstanding. After our girls’ weekend ended and she returned to work in her mid-Atlantic state, she conducted an informal survey of her coworkers. All of them defined goosing as grabbing someone by the rear end.
I also asked a handful of my Eastern Kentucky coworkers. Every one of them said it means tickling.
How did goosing obtain another definition in this region?
I don’t care to find out.
This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.
To my family in central Kentucky it means to jolt someone from behind by jabbing the index fingers against the sides of the victim’s love handles or backside, not in a painful manner, but a ticklish one. The emphasis is actually focused on startling the victim. To everyone else in my orbit, it seems to be closer to unwelcome ___grabbery.