Stop Calling Me Shirley

I’ve decided that I need a catchphrase.

OK, I don’t need a catchphrase. But I want one. Just a word or three that I’ll utter every so often, and people will come to associate with Mark Petruska. They don’t have to break out into spontaneous applause (though who am I to stop them if they do?) or start laughing – I simply want the recognition that comes with a well-chosen phrase that can be delivered under a variety of circumstances. My own personal tagline, if you will. Call it a marketing ploy. Or a vanity project, if you must. I’ve got a book to sell, people! And an image to go along with it. Don’t hate the player…hate the game.

Ayyy. Catchphrases are cool. (Courtesy of

Catchphrases have been around for decades. Bugs Bunny has been uttering “Eh, what’s up, doc?” since the Golden Age of Television. That one’s great – it’s the quintessential all-purpose greeting. Conversely, The Terminator’s “I’ll be back” is the perfect exit. Homer Simpson’s “D’oh!” hits the spot whenever something goes wrong, and Fred Flintstone’s “Yabba Dabba Doo!” is an excellent expression for those happier occasions. Then there’s The Fonz: “Ayyy” could be used to convey a variety of emotions.

One option is to have another person deliver the catchphrase for you. Ed McMahon’s “Heeere’s Johnny!” is a prime example; Mr. Carson then stepped out from behind the curtains, and the crowd was all warmed up by the time he took a few imaginary golf swings at invisible balls. (This same phrase was also used to great effect by Jack Torrance in The Shining, only he was busting down a bathroom door with a hatchet to kill his wife instead of delivering comedic monologues. This just goes to show how versatile a good catchphrase can be).

There are a million good ones out there. “What you talkin’ bout, Willis?” “Book him, Dano.” “Come on down!” “The plane, the plane.” “Did I do that?” “I get no respect.” “Cowabunga!” “How you doin’?” “I love it when a plan comes together.” “Hi, I’m Larry. This is my brother Daryl. This is my other brother, Daryl.” “I know you are, but what am I?” “Up your nose with a rubber hose.” Surely, I can come up with a winner!

“Stop calling me Shirley.”

Shelley Duvall realizes, a little too late, that this isn't The Tonight Show. (Courtesy of

See? It can’t be that difficult to think up the next “Dy-no-mite!” or “That’s what she said.” I mean, sheesh, Charlie Sheen came up with half a dozen handy little catchphrases without even thinking about it. Without even being sane, for that matter. Which gives me a great idea: I’ll have somebody else come up with it. When in doubt, delegate. And I know exactly who I can coerce into doing my dirty work for me:

You guys. My dear readers.

Why not? One of my blogging friends is handing over the entire task of planning her wedding to her readers. Is she crazy? Nope…just Southern. I actually think it’s a great idea, though! So, will you help me out here?

  1. What should my catchphrase be?
  2. When, and how often, should I use it?
  3. While we’re at it, what should I have for dinner on Tuesday?

Thank you for putting on your thinking caps and helping me out with this! I’ll give the winner a featured spot in my blog – one whole paragraph (!!) to write about whatever his or her heart desires. You can promote your own blog or writing project or photography website or artwork or talk about politics or share a picture of your dog in a fuzzy pink sweater or try to convert us all to vegetarianism. The possibilities are endless! I can feel the excitement…can you?


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

33 thoughts on “Stop Calling Me Shirley

    1. LOL…yes, that IS my semi-official catchphrase. I’m just seeing if somebody else can come up with something better. Charlie Sheen has “winning” and “duh” and “tiger’s blood” and a whole lot more – it’s like diversifying your stock portfolio! 😉


  1. How many suggestions are we allowed to give?

    “Now that’s Portland.” “But have you tried gooeyduck?” “Choose your own adventure here.” “Sometimes my parents judge me.” “Postcards from Petruskatown-Where SPAM and Great Cinema Combine Forces in Plaid Button-Ups”

    How’m I doin?


      1. I tend to agree here. I’d edit out the word ‘but’. It’s truly a catch phrase that you could use in just about any situation.

        I’d like to add two:
        1. The Only One Normal Here.
        2. I’ll send you a link.

        Mine wrote itself just by repition for now, it’s: Hope this post finds you lucky and in love.


  2. For dinner??? I’ve been hearing that eggs…you know those $6.00 ones are tasty! As for your catch phrase, that’s easy, you should just keep repeating “buy my book fool” ….. Make sure you say it with a smile on your face, but with a slight hint of seriousness of course! 🙂 Good luck!


    1. LOL. I have no more $6.00 eggs left – guess another trip to the farmer’s market is in order!
      As for “buy my book fool” – I like it. It’s direct and to the point.


  3. Well, I went crazy going through your last months posts, trying to find a something that you perhaps say a lot like me. For instance, “It’s faaaaaaaaaaabulous”

    But I couldn’t.

    However, I think your series of travel posts would make a neat tagline……”Gettin’ My Griswold On!”

    If I think of something better I’ll come back!

    Hope you had a great weekend, bud!


    1. You have the mother of all catchphrases, Ron. And I happen to think it’s faaaaaaabulous!

      “Gettin’ my Griswold on” definitely works in some situations better than others.


  4. Fun post, Mark! I don’t think I can top the catchphrases that have already been offered–too early in the morning for me. I’ll come back if I think of something once I’m semi-consious–or vertical at the very least.


  5. I’m tapped.

    No me, not you, me…as in I have not a clue…but you can use it if you want.

    For dinner…hmmm…egg white, grape tomatoes, grated cheese and spinach omelets with some turkey bacon and fresh fruit! Might as well eat ‘good for you’ stuff once-in-a-while!

    I wonder if they have $6.00 egg whites…bwahahahaha! J/K


    1. “I’m tapped” actually isn’t bad!

      And look at you, spouting off a super-healthy (and tasty-sounding) dinner idea. I like it! But it ain’t bacon unless it’s PORK. That’s a hard and fast rule I’m sticking by!


  6. Oh, Mark. Thanks for the shout out! I think I sun burned my brain regions, but if I think of anything good, I’ll holler at you! Not holler-holler, no yelling. I will kindly let you know if I think of anything!


  7. Haha this is a good post! It would be cool to have a catchphrase as memorable as these ones are. This is the first time I’ve visited your blog so I don’t think I can tell you what your catchphrase should be and how much you should use it, but I can tell you to have spaghetti for dinner on Tuesday! It’s good! And it’s fun to play with. Maybe the noodles will help jog your memory of all the different things you’ve said in your life that could be your catchphrase.


  8. Hmmm. I dig this challenge, mostly because you’re asking us to commit a selfless act. I keep thinking of fun ones, but I want to use them myself. So here are my sloppy seconds.

    (,,,and oddly, most are based on my most recent blog post — I guess top-of-mind awareness has taken over?):

    “Hi, I’m Mark. ‘Huglymess’ is my new favorite word.”

    (…a combination of “hot ugly mess,” for those who have not read my aforementioned most recent blog post….)

    “All-knowing knower of all things worth knowing.”
    (I applied this to Wikipedia, but it works just as well for you.)

    “Mark Petruska
    I don’t write crap.”
    (‘Nuff said)

    “‘Nuff said.”
    (‘Nuff said)

    It’s late here in Reno. Can you tell? (That’s not a suggestion, BTW…)



    1. I like them all…but I’m especially fond of “It’s late here in Reno.” How bizarrely original would that be, considering that in all likelihood I would be uttering that phrase someplace other than in Reno?


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