Fill yer boots, b’y

It was a triumphant moment in our relationship.

We were bunking out at my brother’s house in St. John, N.B., for the night. He and his daughters were in Ottawa but left us a key to get in.

I texted him: “Do you mind if we do a load of laundry while we’re here?”

The response?

Fill ur boots!

I laughed uproariously and showed My American the text.

His shoulders sagged in resignation as he shook his head back and forth and heaved an exasperated sigh.

He had been hearing the idiom from me for almost two years. And every time I said it, he’d respond “I don’t know what that means.”

Of course, it means do whatever you want, which is far more pleasant than the historical meaning to fill your boots with pee so you can keep drinking.

Same thing goes for “six of one, half a dozen of the other.”

Or … if you hear it with my Maritime accent, it sounds more like sixxawunhaffaduzzenofthother.

And so I laughed when I saw a link posted on Facebook yesterday. It was teased with a photo of a grisly old fisherman and read How to Speak Like a Maritimer.

Poor Gregory Pike says we Maritimers “communicate with one another like young twins that invent gibberish language” and “speak at a speed that can only be compared to an episode of Gilmore Girls cast with leprechauns on crank.”

I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with him. We do talk quickly and to the uninitiated, we may very well sound a bit like pirates. It can be — depending on your location — an odd mix of Irish, Scottish and Canadian English.

We hold our Rs as my colleague Bart pointed out to me shortly after I moved out west in 1996, when I was making every attempt to assimilate by hiding my accent.

We do refer to the reprobates among us as “greasy.” When I was in high school, they were also “prevos,” as in those destined for prevocational school instead of university. (Oh Jesus Murphy, how snotty is that?)

And yes, we do swear. A lot.

It’s one of the things My American first noticed about us … us as in Canadians in general, not just Maritimers.

My family and I also taught him about “Stay where yer to, I’ll come where yer at,” highland dancing, chillin’ beer in the ocean, medium double-double Timmy’s, ceilidhs and kitchen parties.

And that The Casket is a newspaper in my hometown.

So when we’re talking about somebody being in The Casket, we don’t mean they’re dead.

He didn’t have any trouble with the accents. He understood everyone fully, although I haven’t yet taken him to Newfoundland.

But that might take a few years of preparation.

Sure as fuck.

True dat, yes, b’y.




  1. And we got right fuckin drunk when you were at my house. I don’t know how you got up the next morning and drove cuz I was tired as fuck. 😛

  2. I didn’t get as drunk as the two of ye did. And that’s why I took the first driving shift … someone had a head the size of Ottawa.

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