December 09, 2008

And gathering swallows TWITTER in the skies

Over Thanksgiving, I was talking to my kids and a bunch of college-age extras about my experience with SuperPoke, a facebook application which lets you publicly send your online friends silly expressions. See, at first, I didn't grasp that much of the language on SuperPoke was taken from the world of online dating. And I didn't understand that many of the expressions were .... um, metaphors. Mostly metaphors for sexual activity. I pretty much had no idea. I thought "trout slapping" meant throwing fish. And "motorboating" meant giving people rides in a boat. And that "teabag" meant I would be giving someone a hot cup of tea.

Looking these phrases up in the urban slang dictionary was quite a revelation. I suddenly found out I'd been doing all kinds of perverse things with my blogging friends. (Some of my friends were as innocent as I was, while others were smiling at me and just waiting to see what happened when I figured it out.)

Anyhow, at Thanksgiving, when I was explaining my mistakes to the young people in the room, most of whom are also my facebook "friends," they laughed hysterically at my ignorance. They kept saying things like, "OMG! How could you not know?"

Then last weekend, I was sitting by the fire with my laptop when Beautiful Smart Wonderful Daughter glanced at my screen.

Daughter: What are you doing?
Me: I'm on twitter.
Daughter: Twitter?
Shaggy Hair Boy: (smirking) That's what she said.
Me: It's a social networking site.
Daughter: You want to know what twitter really means?
Me: Lots of people use it.
Daughter: People your age, who don't know what it means.
Boy in Black: (looking down at a page of physics) Stop! I don't want to hear it.
Me: There's nothing obscene about the word twitter.
Daughter: Okay, if you want to think that ....
Me: No, seriously. It's the sound birds make or something like that.
Me: It's even in that Keats' poem.
Daughter: Look it up.

(a few minutes later)

Me: Oh. My. God.
Daughter: (looking over my shoulder) They phrased it quite nicely.
Me: Well, I'd prefer the word perineum.
Boy in Black: (without looking up) I'm trying to study here.
Me: So when people use it as a verb ... I'm twittering ... what would that even mean?
Shaggy Hair Boy: We really don't need to hear any more.
Daughter: (laughs)
Me: Slang words that refer to women's body parts almost always —
Boy in Black: Can we stop talking about this?
Me: Maybe I should look up tweet or twit or —
Shaggy Hair Boy: MOM!
Daughter: Or maybe you should do it some other time.
Boy in Black: When I'm not here.

39 comments:

susan said...

Feeling totally middleaged, and in very good company.

Leighton said...

Well. I refuse to accept vocab definitions from people who can't spell "betwixt" properly.

Betwixed is something to do with candy bars. Which, granted, doesn't really help any in this situation -- but I still refuse to accept that definition of twitter.

Teri said...

I'm 28!! I can't believe I'm so out of the loop.

I'm afraid to look up "tweets"...

Kari said...

I'm so thankful to you for all the things I learn on your blog that keep me out of trouble in the classroom. You are performing a great act of public service!

Songbird said...

I knew it was a bad idea. I knew it.

But how to stop?

(And I can't bring myself to look it up.)

Sarah Sometimes said...

I am now even more convinced that I don't belong on Facebook!

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

One of the only words I know in Lithuanian is -- well -- apparently their equivalent of "twitter." How about that. I didn't know we had that language in English. Kids these days! What a great service they provide. (That's what she said.)

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

I mean, I didn't know we had that word in English.

I'm blushing! I'm all atwitter!

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

I just mentioned this post to my husband, a native of the High Desert, and he has informed me (I did not know it previously) that what your kids are calling a "twitter" is actually a "t'aint."

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=T%27aint

Busymomma66 said...

Is that what they were talking about in "Bambi" and all that twitterpating?

I'm with Susan, feeling middleaged (and glad I'm in good company).

I figured the pokes had to have some sexual content, my good friend and neighbor sends them all the time to all her friends (and she is a dirty wench--which I love all the same.)

Ianqui said...

i'm w/Jennifer in comment 9. I can haz slang too! Taint, or even "chode" (see later definitions). A college-aged Super G was extremely excited to buy the short-lived Nike Air Chode when he needed new sneakers.

Bardiac said...

I feel positively ancient. :?

Good thing I'm not on facebook, or I'd have offered my friends tea inexplicably!

Danny Bradfield said...

Now I'm glad I usually ignore all those facebook applications and notifications. If only I could replace the word "usually" with "always."

By the way, I'd throw a facebook "snowball" at you, but who knows what that really means?

jo(e) said...

Danny: Uh, you probably don't want to look up snowball on the internet. Really.

kathy a. said...

uh, oh. i knew throwing things on facebook was a bad idea...

elswhere said...

Could you please ask them what we're really doing when we're throwing sheep?

elswhere said...

I just looked up "snowball" and...I should have listened to you. Eew.

Silver Creek Mom said...

OMG... I had not Clue...NO BLOODLY Clue... I really thought I was throwing a fish or a sheep or a snowballl...EWWWWW!
I didn't even know that this dictionary existed!

Jo(e) I think you taught me something I didn't want to know...
I am still throwing sheep at you though and they will really be SHEEP!

Danny Bradfield said...

Your story reminds me of when I was substitute teaching in a high school English class, reading the book "Barrio Boy" with the students. Every time we came across the word "panoche," there were snickers, especially from the students who spoke Spanish. Panoche is a type of fudge made with brown sugar, but I quickly realized that it also had another definition. Their regular teacher, I'm sure, never caught on.

A few weeks later, my family was driving through California's central valley, and a high school kid who was like an adopted son was with us. We passed through the town of Panoche, and I said, "Heh, Panoche." He looked at me and started to laugh, but then stopped, perhaps wondering if I knew what he knew.

TC said...

I had no idea! I'm so old. And, now, grossed out. And I love That Place That May No Longer Be Named.

Kyla said...

I'm their (roughly) their age and I had no idea! Of course, the crowd I run with is closer to your age, though.

Learn something new every day.

New Kid on the Hallway said...

I had no idea either!!

I'm going to deny ever having read this blog post. Lalalalala I can't HEAR you.

Rana said...

I am reminded of this Penny Arcade comic, which now takes on allllll kinds of disturbing connotations: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/04/23/le-twittre/

Note. Very much NSFW!

Picky Mick said...

1) First clue: SuperPoke?

2) To me teabag is a sailing term. The pervs can't have it.

3) What kind of definition uses betwixt and shitter in the same sentence?

4) "Me: Maybe I should look up tweet or twit or —"
T'aint. Now THAT's a twitter.

Kathryn said...

It seems to me that we have two options here...either we become so terrified of accidentally saying something appallingly gross when we thought we were inviting our friends to tea...or we draw ourselves up to our full 5foot 4 inches and say with great dignity
"To the pure all things are pure"
Either way, clearly, we'll amuse our offspring hugely - but maybe that's what we're for ;-)

RageyOne said...

raising my hand to say that I didn't know that a lot of the items in superpoke were sexually related. interesting, to say the least.

BlackenedBoy said...

That had me literally laughing out loud. God, how many people did you teabag or motoboat before you figured it out?

Don't feel too bad about the twitter thing; I'm twenty and I didn't know that.

Nadine said...

I am almost as clueless as you...

Pilgrim/Heretic said...

I shudder to think what Facebook really means. I think I'm just going to get off the internets now.

Songbird said...

My husband says it's "t'aint," too. And I can't believe I looked it up and talked about it.

Overeducated Twit said...

OK, count me as also out of the loop--and I can't even claim age as an excuse. Guessing by the friends who have thrown sheep at and teabagged me, I suspect they were as clueless as I.

Rana said...

Do all of the Pokes have a cute little animal picture, or only some of them? Maybe that's a way to tell?

(If there's a picture of a sheep trout-slapping someone, I do NOT want to know about it!)

Rana said...

It also just occurred to me - this post is going to do... interesting... things for your search referrals.

*amused at the thought of perverse-minded people finding themselves reading about grading*

Rana said...

Ah, geeze. The verification word is now "colloger." THAT just sounds dirty.

.
.
.

But I'm not going to look it up to find out.

the reverend mommy said...

Fans of Larry McMurty and Lonesome Dove would have KNOWN that the word "poke" has other connotations.

That's why they say (at my kid's school) say that "Poking is the leading cause of pregnancy." Srsy.

Then again, I believe kids were just as perverse when I was a kid. We just didn't use all these words for it. Just a "heh heh" after every sentence.

Heh heh.

Magpie said...

I don't know which is better, the post or the comments. Wow. The things I didn't know.

billie said...

I didn't know. I wish I still didn't know. ;-)

Colleen said...

WHAT!? I've been throwing sheep and drinking eggnog with people! I don't what to look it up! I'll just stop using superpoke.

JustMe said...

Wait, what in the world?!?!?! Manam I glad I didn't sign up for superpoke.