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Thursday, January 19, 2006

THE THE

I spoke the offending word on Monday and the reaction was swift and violent...

Me: The snow getting bad enough that they may close the 5.

Boss: No! Don't ever say that again!

Me: What snow?

Boss: No, "the."

Me: As in?

Boss: "The 5." Don't ever say "the 5." Interstate 5 is fine, I-5 is ok. But not "the 5."

Me: What's wrong with "the 5"?

Boss: It means you're from California, we can't have that.

Me: What's wrong with California? We're only 25 miles from the California border. Almost everyone I've met since I moved here is from California.

Boss: Yeah, but everyone here also hates Californians. If you say "the 5" you're a Californian. Last time someone said "the 5" on the air, we got all sorts of angry phone calls from viewers.

Me: Really?

Boss: Oh yeah.

I'm not quite sure why Californians put "the" in front of their freeway names, but it didn't strike me as weird when I moved to LA in 1996.

Perhaps it didn't sound strange to me because I had moved to California from Utah. In Utah, they'll put a "the" ahead of just about any noun you can imagine, as in "Doug is going to school down at the BYU," or "I've got a job down at the Zion's Bank."

Now in Utah they add a "down at" or (if you're quite old) "down to" ahead of the "the." But my point is that it wasn't much of a transition for me to hear and, yes, even say "the" before naming freeways in LA.

If I am to avoid the wrath of the good TV viewers of Oregon, I must stop he "the"-ing as soon as possible. It won't be easy. I still say "Hey, man" which, if I'm not mistaken, fell out of use about the time "Welcome Back Kotter" went of the air.

But try I will. But tonight, just for old times sake, I'll take the 5, to the Redwood Highway, to the 101 and check out the coastline.

There, that felt great.

2 Comments:

At 6:40 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, man!

Here in the DS (Deep South), there is a tendency to put the word "up" into the middle of the proceedings for no apparent reason.
For instance: "I'm fixin to go up to the store..." when "I'm fixin' to go to the store" would work just fine.
"It's hot in here from fryin' the cracklins, open up a window..."
when "open a window" would do just fine.
Then, there are the unnecessary modifiers, such as "snow skiing."
"I'm fixin' to go up to the mountains to go snow skiing..." I guess, as opposed to water skiing.
The one I still hear, which causes the little peas in my brain to rattle around is "sweet milk."
"I'm fixin to go up to the store to get some pickled pigs' feet. I'll get some sweet milk while I'm there. Hey, man, where are you at?"
"Sweet milk" distinguishes the stuff you put on your Wheaties from buttermilk, which is used to make cornbread and, occasionally, pancakes.
I was fixin' to take the 71 up to Texarkana, but the news said a hog truck skidded on the ice and is blocking the highway. I took a hankerin' for a moon pie. Lucky I had some sweet milk for belly wash. I wasn't real sure where I was at, but then I saw Bubba's deer stand. I heard that. Git 'er done.

 
At 6:40 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, man!

Here in the DS (Deep South), there is a tendency to put the word "up" into the middle of the proceedings for no apparent reason.
For instance: "I'm fixin to go up to the store..." when "I'm fixin' to go to the store" would work just fine.
"It's hot in here from fryin' the cracklins, open up a window..."
when "open a window" would do just fine.
Then, there are the unnecessary modifiers, such as "snow skiing."
"I'm fixin' to go up to the mountains to go snow skiing..." I guess, as opposed to water skiing.
The one I still hear, which causes the little peas in my brain to rattle around is "sweet milk."
"I'm fixin to go up to the store to get some pickled pigs' feet. I'll get some sweet milk while I'm there. Hey, man, where are you at?"
"Sweet milk" distinguishes the stuff you put on your Wheaties from buttermilk, which is used to make cornbread and, occasionally, pancakes.
I was fixin' to take the 71 up to Texarkana, but the news said a hog truck skidded on the ice and is blocking the highway. I took a hankerin' for a moon pie. Lucky I had some sweet milk for belly wash. I wasn't real sure where I was at, but then I saw Bubba's deer stand. I heard that. Git 'er done.

 

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