1 Jun 2003
Posted Thursday 7/31/2003-4:59:32 AM

I don’t think I’ve ever used the word booty but my kids do. I find this somewhat alarming. In fact, I think what alarms me is that “Booty” seems to have become almost universally accepted as a harmless word for kids to use. There are songs my kids have learned in school which include the phrase, “Shake your booty, shake your booty, shake your booty on down…” or something like that.

Oh, I’ve used many other euphemisms for the gluteus maximus--butt, ass, rear-end, tailpipe, backside, and many, many others, but never “booty.” This word just isn’t in my personal lexicon.
My non-use of this word is significant of nothing, I suppose, but doesn’t anybody remember the 70s? For those born after 1975 or those with very poor knowledge of pop culture, the ‘70s were a time when the word booty was transformed from a word associated with pirates—i.e.:
t1.Slang. Plunder taken from an enemy in time of war or goods or property seized by force or piracy.
boo·ty2   (b
also boo·tay (bt)
The buttocks.
2. Vulgar Slang. Female naughty bits.
3. Ultra-Vulgar Slang,
 making whoopee (see also the making the beast with two backs).
Of course, any euphemistic language used to describe any body part between the thigh and the larynx are bound to have some vulgar idiomatic meanings. In fact, during a more linguistically puritan time than today (if you can imagine that), just about any word used in particular contexts could have a vulgar idiomatic meaning.

For example, I’ve recently taken up the Ukulele and have mastered numerous dirty blues and jazz songs from the 1920s. These songs, quite tepid by today’s standards, make hay out of describing in fairly plain language the work of a variety of occupations.

For example:
Bakers: “baby, won’t you bake my biscuits brown”
Barbers: “baby won’t you shave me dry”
Furniture movers: “furniture man, please don’t take my folding bed”
Coffee makers: “Baby, likes to grind my coffee”
Butchers: “Sam’s the best butcher and I like his meat”
Dentists: “you thrill me when you fill me and I don’t need no Novocain”
Some of these meanings are pretty obvious but many seem a bit beyond my ability to reckon. Phrases like "Bake my Biscuits" and "Grind my coffee" just seem too silly to be dirty, but then idiomatic language is like that.
On the other hand, But with the word booty, unless you’re talking of pirates, it’s hard for me to not think of it in a less than wholesome context. Blame it on KC and the Sunshine Band and George Clinton, but Booty will always be associated with the ‘70s and everybody knows that everything from the ‘70s is bad.

A good example of this is how way too many 40+ year old women have taken to emulate teenagers in the wearing of the midriff bearing halter tops and hip-hugger pants inspired by ‘70s fashions. Lets be honest, who really wants to see all that lumpy 40 year-old soccer mom flesh hanging out all over the place. Well, I a Man, all female flesh is an inherent source of amazement. This is beside the point. It is really a question of propriety and I really don’t want to be constantly faced with the compulsion to stare at the women whose children play with my children. At the same time, I dislike having to ponder why those women can’t act their age which then makes me realize what a hopelessly old perspective I seem to be evolving. Perhaps burkas aren’t such a bad idea…

But I digress.
Language, especially idiomatic language and slang, is an incredibly fluid phenomenon. Therefore, the way I relate to a word is fairly inconsequential in the big scheme of things. Humans unconsciously make decisions collectively to alter and sometimes reverse the meanings of words on a regular basis. Try to translate the phrase “That Cat Shaft is a bad mother” without using slang or idiomatic expressions….go ahead I dare you.

Here in Oklahoma, we have adopted what were once the three most despicable epithets one could use against another person in Oklahoma and turned them into cute nicknames for ourselves. The word Boomer, as in “Boomer Sooner”--the University of Oklahoma Fight Song--originally meant a criminal trespasser. Prison, or at the end of a lynching party's rope, was where most Boomers ended up. A Sooner, as in "Boomer Sooner" or “Oklahoma: The Sooner State,” originally meant the worst kind of cheater, horse thief, and miscreant. Around the time of the land runs, a Sooner was someone who snuck into the Territories before the opening of a run and dishonestly staked a claim. To a call someone a Sooner was an to insult that person with extreme prejudice. To kill a man in a fight caused by being called a “Sooner” would likely be seen as a justifiable homicide and not likely result in prosecution.

The term Okie, our most common nickname for ourselves, was a 1930s term given to all those who emigrated west to escape the poverty and despair of '30s depression. To be an "Okie" was to be a mean, lowdown, dirty, thieving, un-educated, trespassing, low-life, scum who need not enter the sacrosanct environs of the bathrooms, restaurants, streets, cities, or states that Okies passed through in search of a better llife. Signs reading “No Dogs or Okies Allowed” were common throughout the southwest during the great depression's migration west.

So, perhaps society has agreed that booty is an acceptable euphamism for "buttocks" and this is significant of nothing. In reality, "booty" isn’t significantly different from my preferred euphemism, the simple, polite, and too the point, “bottom.” However, if we're going to widely adopt this more harmless deriviative of the word, Webster's needs to add it to the definition:

boo·ty3 (b t)
1. Children's Slang.
The buttocks.

Someday, I’m going to stop worrying and realize that on the day my children were born, I ceased being a full member of society and became instead a member of that annoying group who fret obsessivly over the changing world and how it might negativly affect their children. Ok, maybee I don’t really fret so much as just notice things and wonder if those things are good or bad and if I should do something about them.
Almost invariably the answer is no.
Kelly @ 12:14 |
Volvo Driving Soccer Moms & Other Fun People
1 Jun 2003
Posted Wednesday, 6/4/2003-12:25:21 PM

Volvo Driving Soccer Moms, Overbearing T-Ball Dads, and other Denizens of the Suburbs

The kids are playing T-Ball right now. I think the Kids playing sports is a good thing even though I don’t understand why parents get so absolutely and obviously insane about them.

We live in a typical American Suburb and like most US Suburbs, Kid sports is an absolutely insane substitute for all other trappings of human society like art, culture, community, and, possibly even religion. On this last one, one of the most intense sports leagues is the Church Softball league, so we have figured out a way to combine those two pursuits into one really nasty, ugly, substitute for all the things that make the ‘burbs such a soul sucking place to live.

In my short tenure as a parent, I've noticed other parents making major life decisions based on sports. They chose school based on the perceived strength of the sports coaches. People will put their 4 year olds in a different soccer league because it is perceived as having a superior degree of competition.

This year, I've really grown in my ability to to relax and enjoy the spectacle of the kids’ sports experience more. Regardless of parent involvement or machinations, little kids play or don't play like the kids they are. I used to be frustrated by it but now I've learned to relax and enjoy it.

Which doesn't mean I'm disconnected. I'm not. I often have the look of an obsessed sports-Dad. At soccer games, for example, I can't sit still. I pace the sidelines with the movement of the game and yell encouragement at whomever has the ball. I, admittedly, yell louder when my Children are playing, but I cheer loudly for everyone and I know everybody's name. I don't if my kids are the ones making the big plays, if the ref makes a bad call, or even, (WARNING: BLASPHEMY ALERT) if care if we win. I care a lot when anybody plays well and I try to limit every shout to positive encouragement. In this, I do a fair job.

Last night, the Kids had their first T-Ball game. I’m not sure what is different about T-ball, but I’ve noticed a significantly higher level of parental tension at these games compared to the sports we’ve played so far. Perhaps this is because, unlike Soccer and Swimming, T-ball carries the potential of being the first step in a child’s glorious “Athletic Career.” After all, who knows which of these 5 year olds could be the next Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, or Sammy Sosa?

I guess my reply would be, “who would want that?” Not me, but apparently lots of other parents would. It is clear that some of these parents take Kid sports really really seriously because many of them demonstrate that typical 5-year-old behavior from their 5 year olds within the sacred environs of the ball diamond WILL NOT BE TOLERATED.

I’ll admit that Sara irritated me when she spent not just part of, but all of her time on the field filling her glove up with dirt. I was a bit miffed when Carter spent the entire first inning attempting to kick every inch of the chalked lines. I was also just a teeny bit tweaked that Zane spent his entire inning on the field with his back turned to the batter and that he never attempted to even use his new glove.

I struggled with the urge to yell at all of them but quickly conceded that yelling would do nothing to change the kid’s behavior but it would certainly irritate all those around me. I enjoyed the game far more as a result.

Another Dad, who sat next to me for about 30 seconds, faced the same dilemma as me. After yelling at his sun to “get out of the dirt and into the game” several times, I said, “might as well admit the irresistible lure that dirt has on a 5 year old.” He looked at me as though I had suggested he cut off his big toe and stick it up his nose, then without comment, strode purposefully over to the dugout where he proceeded to spend the rest of the game yelling directions to his kid.

Friends, We have crossed that line now where sports are important—really important. We have entered that bizzarro world where a school’s sports programs are more important than their math and science programs. We are now in the realm of space and time where the only thing which drives a quorum at school board meetings is the firing of a good coach or the lack of firing of one who, GASP, loses.

I now have experienced, first hand, the type of parent who believes in their heart of hearts that fame fortune and product endorsements will soon come to the fruit of their loins. I think I can actually see parents planning how they are going to build and decorate the trophy room they will soon need for all the family’s sports trophies.

I’ve devised a little game in which to divert my attention from all the insane actions of these folks. It called “Count the Tattoos on the Soccer Moms.” The proliferation of Tattoos on the Soccer Moms is yet another indicator of how life seems to get continually weirder.Last night, I counted 3 tattoos among the 4 Moms who were sitting next to us at the game and this tattoo count required no particular effort and only occurred in the last 5 minutes of the game.

This Tattoo game isn’t just a mindless, prurient, curiosity-- it legitimate research. I have to determine what drives a 40-something Soccer mom to get a Tattoo. I understand tattoos on young people. It's right up there with body piercing, goldfish swallowing, and other faddish behavior which is endemic among young folks. This is, of course, something every generation seems to have a peculiar flavor of and I can totally understand how this type of behavior comes about. But on people who are somewhere within a few years of being my age, the whole tattoo thing baffles me because it isn’t the result of the impetuous behavior of a 20 year old, but the purposeful behavior of someone who “ought to know better.”

I make an effort to be generally well informed about the goings on in our culture, but when did tattoos become de rigeur for people of my generation? I don't know and I find this somewhat bothersome. Not that bothersome because I disapprove of tattoos, but bothersome because I seem to have missed observing a major trend. If you can miss something as insignificant as the proliferation of tattoos, next thing you know, something major will happen, like the proliferation of personal nuclear defense devises, and not know until your next door neighbor is building his missile silo. I think you can understand my concern.

I understand twenty-somethings getting tattoos. The scenario is as obvious as a skunk at a tea party: Its' Friday, you're relaxing with your buddies, you have a few cocktails, then somebody says "let's all get a tatoo" and before you know it, you've had a dozen more cocktails and you've traveled across the state line and are waiting your turn to have the Tasmanian Devil permanently affixed to your epidermis. This makes sense to me. I was young, intoxicated, and stupid once upon a time and I did many things silly things while in this state of mind.

But for people my age, Tattoos weren't a faddish, lets get drunk and do something crazy, kind of thing while we were that age. I can’t remember what was, exactly, because I had been drinking at the time, but I don’t have any tattoos, nor do my friends who weren’t in the military, so I must not have been something people did much of.

So when did this happen and what does it mean? I think it means nothing other than people of my generation are emulating those younger in a vain attempt to forestall the realities that they are suburb living, sensible car driving, enslaved by their children, jobs, and circumstances, adults.

Perhaps this is the scenereo that has passed me by: Mom and Dad leave the kids with Grandma for a long weekend get-away, catch a flight to Vegas, Cancun, or some other distant locale, get drunk and try to forget they have the multitudes of mind numbing responsibilities which come with age, and, next thing you know, there's Taz staring at you everytime you look at you left foot.

This kind of makes sense but I’ll have to do way more research before I can make a determination.

Stay tuned for details…

Kelly @ 12:29 |