No, not the singer. The exclamation. "MADONNA!" or "MADONNA MIA." When butchered properly, they sound like "MADON!" and "MADONAMI" and sometimes "MARON." The "d" sound formed when your tongue hits the back of your front teeth is different from the "d" sound in English where your tongue hits further back in the roof of your mouth. And then of course, being Italian-Americans, we chop off the end of the word.
So why do we feel the need to call upon the blessed virgin mother so much? Gosh, you got me. I do it about 20 times a day, even to myself. Examples:
Now that it's cold in the morning, I step outside and say out loud: "MADON it's cold!" Do I actually need intervention from Mary? Naw, I'm just giving her a shout out to let her know I'm not so happy about the impending winter.
My husband came home one day and said "I put in a transfer to Florida." I said "MADON! Are you nuts?" Here I was calling on Mary to alert her to a possible manslaughter charge that could be brought against me, asking her to look out for me. And my husband.
We have Christmas dinner at my parents' house every year. My mom makes enough food for 20 people and we are only 9. She heaps the food on my plate and I say "MADON! Not so much!" Here I am actually thanking Mary and God for the good food and for my mom's ability to cook it in abundance.
I get up every morning at 5:45 to get ready for work. I am not, nor have I ever been, a morning person. This is a problem since I am very much a night owl. So every morning when that alarm goes off, since my mouth is not working yet, I say to myself without fail: "MADON! It's early!" or "MADON! Is nighttime over already?" What I really mean to say is "Madonna, please tell God I am thankful for waking up this morning and grateful to have a job to go to."
Doing laundry is my kryptonite. I'd rather clean the bathrooms. In college, I used to pay my sister to do it for me. I despise it. I hide from it. I pretend I don't see it. But it is there and it accumulates. When my husband takes pity on me at the end of the week and hauls my baskets downstairs to the laundry room and I see them, of course I say: "MADON!" That's usually all I can muster when I see giant piles of laundry staring at me. In this instance I am actually desperately pleading with the BVM to make a few phone calls and cause some seismic event in my laundry room and have the dirty clothes just get swallowed up. I find that she does not hear me.
Yesterday I was at the gym and it was my first day back to lifting weights since my carpal tunnel surgery. Actually, it was the lat pulldown machine so I was pulling, not lifting since I don't have enough strength in my hand to lift over 1 pound yet, nor can I grip very well. So, after 6 weeks of no upper body weight-training, I slide the 30 pound pin in, which is where I was pre-surgery, and I pull. Unprepared to not be able to pull down the bars nor to experience the pain through my upper back, I yelled without thinking: "MADON!" The guy next to me laughed. (He must have heard it on the Sopranos.) I was unabashedly calling upon Mary to make me come to my senses and to make the pain stop.
So there you have the various insightful ways this particular person uses the word "MADON!"
This has been your butchered Italian word for the day.
Cheers for the explanation. I hear them say it on The Sopranos a lot and never quite new what it meant.
Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!
Agree Molfetta Italy
Kinda like asking for divine help, without asking formally.
Awesome explanation, Thanks!
I heard it many times (while watching the Sopranos for the 7th time) and although I had a pretty good idea what it meant, I thought I better find out for sure.
Not a day goes by I don't utter that word!
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