Thursday, October 25, 2007

Speaking Their Language

A few weeks ago, the hip students at work all started saying, "What's good, Katy?" when they walked into the lab. At first, I thought they were talking about my food since I'm always eating. I responded, "oh, chicken lo mein." Or something similar. Then I noticed they were laughing at me.

So I asked Gary one day what the appropriate response to and definition of the phrase might be. He told me it has replaced, "what's up?" and I'm supposed to say, "Nuttin. Chillin."

Today I got to test it. I was working with Gary, who is 6'10.5" (I was dwarfed by his thigh, which I decided is the exact length and girth of the 60 pound sandbags we lift at rugby practice). Gary was hunched over the too-small chair with his knees up at his ears, typing on the too-small keyboard in front of the too-small monitor when another student walked in and screamed, "WHAT'S GOOD, Katy?"

I tapped Gary knowingly and told the student, "Nuttin. Chillin." Gary laughed hysterically, leaned back in the too-small chair until he tipped over. Then he lay on the floor with his enormous legs, each taller than me, sticking straight up in the air as he howled.

"Shit," Gary said, "You something else."

An hour later, the angry Beowulf kid came in to write a paper. He had chicken parm with him, a tub of yogurt, and two Power Bars, which he ate in about nineteen seconds. When, two hours later, he got up to go get more food, I asked him how much he eats each day.

"Oh, usually 9,000 calories." Again, he weighs 330 pounds of muscle and was roughly the height and width of a doorway. He needs to eat every two hours to maintain his muscle mass. He's like a highly oiled Ferrari, or maybe a Hummer. While he was getting more sustenance, I noticed that he tended to use a lot of comma splices in his paper.

As he sat down to feast, I told him, "Friend, you are making your commas work too hard."

"What do you mean? What's wrong with that?"

"You wouldn't ask a wide receiver to play left tackle, would you?"

"Well, no. That would be stupid."

"It's the same thing with commas. They get tired and aren't strong enough to carry two sentences. You need to call in the big guns, like the semi-colons or the dashes. Punctuation that needs 9,000 calories to stay strong."

He paused for awhile, contemplating. He nodded, mouth full of breadstick, and said, "That totally makes sense when you put it that way."

Sometimes I get it right.

4 comments:

Em said...

Tell me more about this sandbag rugby drill.

Laura V said...

the sandbag rugby drill is a method devised by our coach to tear people's quads & otherwise generate maiming, all without having to actually play rugby!

PeaceLoveMath said...

I LOVE your comma/semicolon/dash explanation!!! hehe.

Emily said...

hahahaha that is AMAZING!!!! GREAT explaniation! Love it.

Also, is the sandbag drill at all similar to tire flipping?