The Good, the Bad, and the Greasy

One of my favorite words is “greasy.” It must be pronounced gree´- zee, with long drawn out e’s and a definite z. Not gree´- SEE. Say it with me: Greeee-zy.

Greasy comes up a lot in my life. During these last vestiges of a hot and humid summer, which has, as it often does in Alabama, faded into a hot and humid fall, every time I look in the mirror one word springs to mind — greasy. Forehead, nose, chin. All greasy. No amount of Cornsilk face powder can ensure a matte appearance. No amount of witch hazel can combat the shine. No dainty, paper facial blotter can absorb the oil. Alabama humidity will rear it’s shiny head in victory every time.

Face greasy is bad greasy. And there’s more where that came from. Bad greasy is a black smear on your starched, white blouse. Hair that looks like it’s wet when it’s not — bad greasy. Behavior that is more than a little shady — bad greasy. City bus windows blurred with little spots where tired riders have rested their weary heads — bad greasy. The orange solids circling the top of a can of tamales — bad greasy.

Then there is ugly greasy. Runoff from sprawling suburban parking lots into our local rivers and streams — ugly greasy. A rainbow of oil concealing tar balls below the surf that wash up on Alabama’s white sand beaches, or any other shoreline for that matter — ugly greasy. If it coats the local flora and fauna in dark brown muck — even uglier greasy.

But greasy isn’t all bad all the time. For instance, if your cast iron skillet is protected from rust with a layer of Crisco, that’s good greasy. (According to the television commercial that featured Loretta Lynn, Crisco will do you proud “ever time.”) If your biscuit has a little butter oozing out the side and into a puddle of sorghum syrup — good greasy. If your fried egg is lacy and blindfolded from a hot bath in bacon drippings just like my Mama makes them — good good greasy. That yumminess you lick off your fingers after a Sunday dinner of Mamaw’s fried chicken— good greasy every day of the week.

Then there’s poetic greasy. There is no other word that will appeal to a reader’s intellect, emotion, and reason in quite the same way. While it is rare to find a verse that incorporates this weighty word, I remember fondly a poem from my childhood, one that we recited often, theatrically, with the dignity it demanded. Prepare yourself. Here it goes:

Yo mama
and yo daddy
and yo great great greasy granny
with the holes in her panties

with a big behind
like Frankenstein
going beep beep beep
down Sesame Street.

Take it greasy, y’all.


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