Friday, February 25, 2011

A Flavor. It Has One.

I was home-schooled from middle school on. Though I certainly have no regrets at all (I'm quite proud of it) I did miss out on a few things. One of those is slang. I don't know a whole lot of slang and while I've managed to turn it into a joke about how old I am ("I'm hip to the jive, yo." being one of my favorites) there's still a piece missing when I communicate with my peers. Or worse yet, with kids that are younger than me.

I am aware that slang is a very culturally reliant creature. It varies even from county to county though this issue has become less of one since access to the internet has increased. Internet has been able to develop its own languages (H@x0rZ, Lolcat, and my least favorite: chatspeak) that are fairly universal as long as the base language is the same.

This isn't to say that there aren't still some predominantly regional specific evolutions of language and this is what I struggle with most. I usually explain it away by understanding I spent the first seven years of my life in another country. Or, that my mother was a large part in my growth and development and she herself was born and raised in Germany. Europe is very different in many ways and it's clear the impacts my mother had on my sister and I.

I've managed to battle all of these shortcomings with one simple feat. I make up my own slang. If people can come up with nonsensical abbreviations and mutations of a language, why can't I? At least it'll make sense to me. Here's a few of my translations and the reasoning behind them.

Hobo Sandwich: I believe I went through about a year and a half of my life calling everyone and everything a Hobo Sandwich. I did this because if Jizzy to the nizzy can mean something (I don't know if that's real, but I'm sure something that sounds like that exists) why can't I make a term that is both confusing and a minor insult. It follows the same logic of the "your MOM" jokes.

Of course I couldn't just leave it as a nothing, I had to actually invent the Hobo Sandwich. A Hobo Sandwich requires a french roll or baguette of some kind. Next you need at least three different kinds of deli meats and three different kinds of sliced cheese. You roll up the cheese inside the meats, alternating the different kinds. You cut the roll or baguette in half, take a bit of the bread out of the inside (eat it or feed it to pigeons or ducks), spread mayonnaise and mustard in the inside and then put the meat cheese rolls in it and eat. It is noms.

Midnight thirty/Noon thirty: I am NOT the only person to do this. I started doing this because I had a strange sleep schedule that means I was up at both noon and midnight. Since saying "twelve thirty" could mean anything to me, I use midnight and noon to differentiate between the two. Many people have questioned my use of these terms. I don't know why, it's very clear. Thirty can be substituted for fifteen or twenty-three, whatever as long as it pertains to a time.

I thought it as pretty original based on the response I got but recently I've heard many other people use it as well so it must have been around before I started using it. Maybe I heard it subconsciously somewhere in passing, I don't know. It's unlikely people started using it because of me since I'm not exactly the kind of person other people want to emulate.

I don't use this word to only mean that something is literally shiny. I use it as a synonym for interesting. I cannot tell you how confused people look when I say, "that sounds shiny". As far as I'm concerned if "sick" or "ill" can mean something is great, then shiny can absolutely mean something is interesting. It even makes more sense since being sick is never awesome but shiny things are often interesting. You can admit it, I'm a genius.

Can I touch it?: So this isn't obviously slang, but it's technically slang. It functions as "Can I see that?" but on a literal level. I made it literal because I have always been ridiculously annoyed by the overdone and stupid joke in response.
Me: Can I see that?
other: Yeah, look, SEE IT?! Hahaha, I'm so funny.

I figured if I literally request to hold or touch something they are denied whatever sick pleasure they may derive from being a jerk and I get a straight up yes or no response. It functions brilliantly.

What flavor is it?: This is one of my favorites because no intentional thought process went into it. I've been asking this question since I was a kid. This isn't slang if I'm using it to ask about a flavor of candy or other edible item, but it is when I'm asking about a color or type. Of course there are times when I get the "it doesn't have a FLAVOR" response but I feel accomplished when people just get it and answer my question.

I very distinctly remember having an argument with my mom about whether or not chapstick was edible. I was about three and I had gone through half a tube of chapstick. She insisted that it was not food, but the product was very clearly labeled as cherry. Cherry is a flavor. Also, it was delicious.


P.S. Yes, I could read when I was three, no I was not a prodigy, my dad was just really good at teaching.

1 comment:

  1. I, too, use the "what flavor is it?" line. Wordplay is fun. You and Liz Lemon would get along great. Blerg!
    It Just Got Interesting