You have to admit, that’s a title that doesn’t scream “search engine optimization.” Had I put that phrase in the title, though, I’d have gotten several thousands (admittedly pointless) hits.
Cammy Bean at Learning Visions is cheerfully infecting others with “Seven Things You Didn’t Need to Know.” I’m happy to play, though I tend not to call these things memes (most of them are just fads with a short half-life).
1: I’ve never been bitten by a dog. Not even nipped–at least as far as I know. It’s surprising, because I’m not at ease around dogs, in something of the way that a housecat is not as ease at being given a bath. I hope not to change this dimension (the never-bitten element).
2: As a coworker, I’m pretty easygoing. The exception is when I think I’m being taken, or being taken for granted. When I’m in that mood, I remember a comment made by an Australian politician about an opponent: “If he was on fire, I wouldn’t piss on him.”
3: Deep down, I think fondness for sushi is a prank.
Okay, maybe not if you’re Japanese, or spent ten years there studying kendo. Otherwise, you’re not fooling me. I say this as the child of people who love salt cod, another bit of misguided humor masquerading as food.
4: My pronunciation of foreign languages is much better when I sing. That’s true for French, which I actually can speak, but also for Gaelic, German, Yiddish–and, really, when all your ancestors came from the Highlands and the Islands, you don’t have many Yiddish-speaking exemplars.
I think this has to do with how songs are encoded in the brain–have you noticed how, when you’re trying to recall the words, you have to sing your way up to them? The two aspects are linked, and perhaps the pronunciation sneaks in as well — though come to think of it, I’ve heard some horrendous renditions of La Vie en Rose.
5: I don’t follow sports. I’m not much on playing them, probably because when I was a kid, team sports pretty much meant your school team. On the other hand, my sixth-school teacher, Mr. Strunk, taught all his classes the Minnesota Rouser. We’d sing it at our school games, where a bunch of Detroit children bellowing “Minnesota, hats off to thee” tended to confuse the other side. The fact that I still know the words to a song like this connect to the next thing that you don’t need to know…
6: I love to sing. When I was in kindergarten, I used to walk home from school singing The Ballad of Davy Crockett (which I don’t perform any more). I don’t set out to learn only the obscure, but it has a way of finding me.
Here’s one that’s on my list to learn: O mo dhuthaich (“Oh, my country”). Karen Matheson sings it better than I ever will even in my dreams; still, I have people from her neck of the woods (or the Isles)–my grandfather’s family was from North Uist.
O mo dhuthaich’ stu th’air m’aire
Uibhist chumhraidh ur anan gallan…
Nam biodh agam fhin de storas
Da dheis aodaich, paidhir bhrogan
Agus m’fharadh bhith ‘nam phoca
‘Sann air Uibhist dheanainn seoladh
O my country, you are on my mind
Fresh, fragrant Uist of the saplings…
If I had riches
A change of clothes and a pair of shoes
And my prayer in my pocket
It is to Uist that I would be sailing.
(Full lyrics here.)
Next April, an amendment to the Citizenship Act goes into effect. Under the amendment, my Canadian citizenship (which I lost when my parents became naturalized American citizens) will be restored “retroactive to the date of loss.”
So, while technically I’m not a Canadian citizen as I write this, if you come and reread this post next April, I will be. Or… I will have been one now, but only then? Douglas Adams did point out that time-travel grammar is tough.
Rather than tag people with this seven-things assignment, I feel like trying something different: if you’ve got the urge to jump in, do so on your blog, then come back and leave an invitation in the comments. That seems pretty low-pressure.