Saturday, October 17, 2009

Feeling Punky

AC is feeling punky today and has for the past several, as a matter of fact. No, I'm not going to paint my scalp orange and try to spike my side tresses as the modern usage of the word might imply. Rather, as I use punky in this context, I am referring to the way my father used to employ the word. I had forgotten about it until it edged its way into my consciousness this morning.

You see, Dad would say he was feeling punky when he wasn't feeling up to par. He didn't feel very good: maybe not sick, but not great either. Webster's Online defines punky as being an adjective deriving from the word punk or punkie which in 1872, apparently referred to the state of being soft or rotten. I don't know if that relates to Dad's use of the word, but I would think that it could.

I have never heard this usage from any source other than Dad, something like his Dan to Beersheba saying which I blogged about almost five years ago. I had come across that saying in Bill Bryson's history of the English language, Mother Tongue and had also encountered what, for me, was a strange use of the word, toboggan. Rather than repeat that post, I'll leave it to you to click through if you are so inclined.

This entry was going to take a different direction: more in line with thankfulness, which I should have posted about a week ago, at Thanksgiving if you please. I was going to say something like, "Despite feeling punky today, I am thankful for ..." Perhaps I'll get around to the thankful aspect in another post, but since this entry took a different direction that intended, I think I'll leave it here.

In the meantime, I am appreciative of recalling this fairly unique saying from Dad. It kind of gives me a warm feeling for some reason, and I would like to try to keep the word alive in my own lexicon if I can.

I know; I'm strange.

Put it down to the fact that I'm feeling a little punky today.


Ginnie said...

Everyone'a allowed "punky" days once in awhile. I guess it helps us to appreciate the good ones.
I had a girlfriend who's nickname was Punky...imagine living with that?

Mara said...

"Sick, weak and nauseous" is the expression we use over here. Not really ill, not really healthy! Hope you will feel above the weather real soon!

Anonymous said...

Maybe that is like our puny. Feeble, weak, lowdown. I am glad your word pepped you up. We are having puny weather, which makes me feel puny.

Barry said...

Punky Brewster was a popular TV show about a little girl when we got our cat, about 20 years ago. So when we sat our daughters down to discuss a name for the cat, Punky was chosen. In our mind it signified a "perky" little girl.

However, the cat only lived ten years and was one of the most anti-social animals I've run across. So, maybe she knew what her name really meant and was resentful all that time!

Ginger said...

Hope you're feeling tip-top soon, but in the meantime, I'm glad you got to use the word and enjoy its connections. :)

Diana said...

It's alright to feel punky from time to time. We all do. You will snap out of it soon!
Love Di

Donna said...

I know the feelings of things...lost. Our bodies are starting to go downhill and its getting harder and harder to keep up with the continous onslaught of life...You sit down in a comfortable spot thinking to yourself, "Ah, nothing hurts right now", and it feels SO nice...My Mom would say punky on occasion and we all knew she meant she wasn't feeling quite "up to par."
Hope you start feeling chipper again soon...The season of "Love" and "Happiness" is on its way! I bet you and Cuppa are going to be celebrating this season in style! There's so much to plan for...and as for me? I'm just waiting to see your pictures!!!hahaaa...!! Now get busy!hughughugs

Donna said...

PS-We had SUCH a laugh with your comment on my blog!! Poor Hubby thought SURELY, as a man, you'd back him up!!LOL

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

I knew exactly what you meant. We used punky on our home. "I feel rather punk today!" means under the weather, not physically ready to tackle the day. It is a good day to have someone make a fuss over you and make you a hot toddy.

Life's poetry said...

John, My mother used to use the expression, 'I feel punk today.' We all knew what that meant. She was feeling a bit 'off', but not enough to stop her carrying on with what she had to do, but watch out! She would be cross (read cranky) and her temper short! I too hadn't thought of that expression for years either. My mother died some 16+ years ago. No wonder I didn't think about this word. She was one of only a few people I knew who used it!
Incidentally, I am the person who asked where or what Steve's is. Perhaps I should have asked what continent or country I might find Steve's in. I live in Canada - Vancouver Island and am not familiar with it or Carleton Place. Elaborate please..... Shirley

Lorna said...

I knew the word, but because my grandfather used it, I thought the etymology had something to do with colonial India. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

Funny how the intention of a post starts out one way and ends another... happens to me all the time. :-)

I sometimes hear my Dad inside my head and find myself then simply using the words to keep the memory and him close by. "Punky" sounds vaguely familiar and I somehow instinctively knew what it meant. Must reside in my past from some where.

Mary G said...

My family used 'punky' exactly as yours did. And it amuses me to hear expressions I learned from my grandmother come out of my granddaughter's mouth.
And I loved Bryson's book too.