Today’s Twanglish Lesson is about one of those “bless your heart” moments in life. We all know someone like this – typically a distant cousin or eccentric uncle. (We never claim this type of person less that two branches removed from ourselves on the family tree.)
Sure, the psychologists, psychiatrists and other such high-falutin’ know-it-alls have their own terms for it: psychosis, schizophrenia, paranoia
Teetch’d -adj. 1.Of limited mental prowess, 2. Insane
By God, that boy down there in the garden shop at the Walmarts is a little tetch’d in the head.
It should be noted that “tetch’d” is rarely used alone. For some reason, it’s necessary to clarify the context of one’s tetch’dness by adding the context “in the head.” We suppose it’s theoretically possible for one to be “tetch’d in the knee” or “tetch’d by an angel,” but we’ve never heard it that way.
And if you’ve ever had a family member who was tetch’d the point that they needed to be institutionalized, you also know that you never refer to the facility by such gauche monikers as “the nut house,” “the loony bin” or even “the insane asylum.” Typically you just refer to the city in which they are housed and allow the listener to infer the meaning:
My second cousin’s a little tetch’d, God bless her, but they takin’ right good care of her up there in Tuscaloosa.
If the listener assumes that your cousin is not being treated at Bryce Hospital, but instead thinks she is a student at the University of Alabama, you can’t blame them. As a proud alumnus of the Capstone, I can say at times it was difficult to discern the difference.