Friday, June 17, 2011

Homogeneity

The military is SO diverse, yet so alike. Sure we come from different areas and backgrounds but once we get here, we're all the same. Part of it is by design. It's a unity thing. It's why we wear uniforms and squadrons are called units and we march the same way, all together, they laugh alike, they walk alike, sometimes they even talk alike - too much Nick at Nite over the year I guess. Ignore the Patty Duke song. Anyway, we become homogenized. There are parts that just happen. It's not just a job. It's a lifestyle. We work and live together. We are all out of our elements. So we gel and become like one another.

In the process, we lose a piece of our identities. I don't like this. My identity is unique and complex. I come from an area that wasn't bad but not fantastic. Some friends still live with their grandmothers and work at gas stations. We had a 3 bedroom house and a pool in the yard. And I'm talking about before I moved to NJ. This is from the old NY days. My life was very Yin and Yang as I think back. We could hang out at a family barbecue and swim in the pool in the yard in the same day as applying...umm... urban artwork. Lots of weird duality.

My Queens crew had its own name and everyone in it had their own names as well. There was Brian Garlic, Skelly Miller, Keas, Wake, Ronnie Fingers, Biz, Rid, and others and since I moved away I was affectionately called "Jason from Jersey." And I mean ALL the time. As long as it was to say, it was used in its entirety even when addressing me.

We had stockings hanging in our favorite bar at Christmas time. We injected made up or shortened words into our vernacular and they'd spread. Do you remember the term "herb" for someone who was considered like a loser or nerd? Started in my old neighborhood. If I had to guess, it was one of Skelly's, but I just know it began near me. We said it years before I heard it anywhere else. There's a list of things I said nonstop all day long as part of my speech patterns that I lost when I came into the military. Some were pretty stupid to be honest, but that's not the point. I didn't give them up because they were stupid. They just faded over time being part of this vanilla lifestyle. Maybe I would have outgrown some, but maybe not. I hate that being in such an insular society like the military has caused me to conform. I'm far from outlandish by nature, but lost any little bit of flair.

I've been thinking about re-introducing these words and spreading them around the southland. They already say stupid shit like, "I'm fixin' to go to the store" and the forever dumb "y'all" anyway. So here are some... don't judge me.

-Herb - loser, jerk, overall putz.
-Schroom - bathroom
-Pcs - hot girl. Crude people see a hot girl and call her a "piece." This is subtle, as pcs is the abbreviation for pieces.
-Shrab (maybe shroub. Not sure how to spell a word that's not real)- a hard time. When your wife is nagging you to do something, she's giving you shrab.
-WhattaWeGot.
--Greeting. "Hey buddy. WhattaWeGot."
--Clarification. "Wanna go eat?" "Depends. WhattaWeGot."
--Confusion. "I don't understand why this won't work. WhattaWeGot with this thing?"
-Mad - modifier to mean a lot or intense. "It was mad hot out today." Can even be used alone. "You like that movie?" and you say, "yeah. mad."
-Round - all encompassing. Not round like a circle, but like a round of boxing or a round of drinks.
--Replaces shrab or adds to it. "She won't leave me alone, she's always giving me a round (or a round of shrab)."
--"You want sushi?" "Nah, I don't really have a round."

That's all I can think of at the moment, as these have been pushed into the depths of my memory. The actual terms aren't as important as it is to reclaim all of me before I let go of parts to mesh into this [temporary] life. Hard to separate yourself and be unique and have vision and be innovative when you fall in with the flock. So I'm going to be me like I always have, and this may be the opposite of what the world truly needs, but I'm going to be MORE of me - like I used to be.

I also can't wait to annoy the shit out of all the southerners when the full fledged "yankee" in me resurfaces.

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