Another inventive euphemism (see discussion of these in my Jeezum crow posting), which came up in a re-reading of Nicholson Baker’s U and I (see here), twice — first in writing about an imagined dialogue with John Updike on the golf course, then in a comment about his own writing style:

[about Updike’s anti-bookchat rule on the course] “Yup, we’re going to pretend we’re two regular guys,” is how I interpreted [the rule]. Imagine having a rule of conversation. Jeezamarooni! If I were out there with Updike on the fairway right now, and he had laid down that rule, I would, between bogeys, be coming out with nervous snickering references to Richard Yates and Patrick Suskind and Julian Barnes, just to test his tolerance of me as a golf partner — just to see if he would make an exception for me. (pp. 52-3)

… the betrayal takes the form of smirks and smartass falsifications, such as when I spoke earlier of trying to “hustle” Updike on the golf course into thinking I was less perceptive than I was, or when I used faux-naif expletives like “Jeezamarooni!” or called myself a writer “on the make.” (pp. 108-9)

I found only three ghits for “Jeezamarooni”, one of them a commentary on Nicholson Baker’s language — in a Boston Review piece by Kerry Fried on Baker’s The Fermata:

Tenderness — not disgust — toward women pervades Baker’s work. His mix of high and low styles — exclamations like “Holy Moly” and “Jeezamarooni” collide with elegant, complex syntax or epigrams — makes his characters’ obsessions surprisingly harmless and hilarious. His prose seems incapable of conveying the dangerous power of obsession or leveled desire; it’s too self-aware and -mocking.

Then an un-selfconscious (I assume) use by a college sophomore:

Man, I reread the original thread the person was referring to, and I’m the supposed source of ketchup stealing! Jeezamarooni, that is distressing. I do not ever take extra ketchup or any other condiment. I do use up what I am given. I am saddened that I wrote so vaguely as to indicate that I thought stealing was acceptable. It’s not, and I don’t do it.

And finally in a piece from Colby Magazine:

“I’m Watt Miranda. And this is Lewis Allyn, head of physical plant.”

“Shaddap,” said Beaker. They followed him through the heavy door, which he then closed behind them, turning a heavy steel wheel to make sure the seal was airtight.

“Jeezamarooni,” said Allyn, looking around at the room in which he now stood. It was a windowless concrete bunker, filled with blinking computers, steam pipes, electronic hardware. A console at the room’s center was covered with hundreds of tiny dials. Each of the dials was connected to a small V.U. meter.

There might be a New England-upstate New York connection here — it might even be connected to Jeezum crow —  but from only three instances, it’s hard to tell.

One Response to “Jeezamarooni”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    In e-mail, Baker scratches his head about jeezamarooni:

    I wish I could remember who taught me jeezamarooni – it goes deep in my childhood, I know that. I don’t think I made it up. Maybe a kindergarten teacher? (in Rochester, NY)

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