One of the small amusements of the weekend was listening to M. Bassoon’s Pittsburghese recording. He is from Pittsburgh, so he is allowed to make fun of the local speech, and the recording was making fun. We didn’t know that ahead of time, however, and so we gathered in his studio and listened respectfully to a recording from Mothers Against Worshipping Satan, having no way of knowing whether the speaker was his own mother, or perhaps this was a cause he espoused, or what.
It turns out that there is a lively industry making fun of the local dialect.
- Check out this handy Pittsburghese translator.
- Or take the Pittsburghese test. (I did pretty well, actually, with a high B, and was higher than 29% on yinzerness, whatever that may mean.)
As I was listening, I remembered learning in school about the people who say “gum band” and “redd up.” They were the classic example of a small local dialect holding out against the rest of the nation, and indeed the world. We saw a video of people being interviewed.
“What do you call this?”
“A gum band.”
“Have you ever heard of another word for it?”
Blank stare. “No.”
“Have you ever heard it called a rubber band?”
Deep thought. “No. I think it’s called a gum band.”
At this point, it seems to me, some of the speaker’s friends vaguely recalled having encountered that term somewhere, and they had a discussion about it.
We were a bit amazed that adults could have gone their entire lives, presumably buying things in packages labeled “rubber band,” and never realized that everyone outside their city used a different term from their own.
I admire that, myself. While it smacks of bloodimindium (the element the Discworld wizards conclude Roundworld has instead of narrativium), there is something admirable in clinging that fiercely to your own way of doing things.
Last night, having nothing scheduled, I finally got around to doing the taxes (yes, I had done them before, but there was a glitch in the online process, and so I ended up doing them by hand) and #1 son’s FAFSA. Today I will be going to the store.
Here’s what’s not getting done around here: housework, sewing, knitting, gym visits. This needs to change.