Friday, February 18, 2011

Being Catchy.

Where do catch phrases come from?  I have no idea, but someone out there one day started saying "TMI,"  and it stuck.  Now people are screaming out "TMI" on everything from sitcoms to t-shirts.  Everywhere in pop-culture, when you're being told more than you want to know, it quickly falls under the TMI rule.  Wonder who started it?

I use quirky phrases.  Lots of times I've seen people just burst into laughter and ask me where I get the funny things that come out of my mouth.  I don't know really, all I know is that I can't help it.  It's just who I am and sometimes those quirky phrases stick. Everyone knows that I'm basically a student of the world.  I pick up things here and there and I usually don't think about their origins much, I just use it and it sticks.

Back in the days of, a friend of mine and I sat down one evening and were considering the state of the Uru Community in There and after much deliberation, given that we were a diaspora (a dispersion of a people from their original homeland, most often used to describe Jewish communities), we started to use yiddish slang for a number of reasons.  The Uru Community in There were some of the hardest working folks around.  We ran the university, we had some of the greatest creatives who made everything from 3D models to unique clothing designs. Uruites were behind the Neighborhoods Committee who decided on community based awards for the best decorated 'hoods and they were actually the ones who really pushed to take Port-a-zone communities and turn them into large neighborhoods with individual lots.  We sat on almost every single Members Advisory Board in the history of  I even pulled a 6-month term on the MAB myself.  

Much less to say, we Uruites kicked butt.  We were community builders - and since our home had been taken away - we found somewhere else to live.  It wasn't without it's drama or complications.  Many an Uru-Therian can tell you stories of discrimination, griefing and other horrid atrocities visited upon them.  The first Uruites to hit the Therian shores didn't have an easy time of it to say the least.  But as we're survivors of the first order, we made it work and the stories of triumph soon followed.  So, long story short, my pal and I started throwing around some yiddish words and phrases, "oy veh" being our favorite.

By the time I started playing in WoW, "oy veh" had become a part of my vocabulary.  It just feels good to say because you're not really cussing, you're not being offensive and it's better than "Oh my God."  Some people don't dig on blasphemers, I get it, so "oy veh" stuck.   Trust me, when those big, burly men I was playing the video game with were throwing things around that you felt the need to use eye bleach to get rid of the visual they were giving you, "oy veh" sufficed nicely and shut them up quickly because they knew when they heard me say it or saw it in type, they knew they had gone too far.

Also in WoW, there are always tons of nice little patches of fire, or my personal nemesis, the ever-present "void zones" that someone always seems to step, or in worst case, stand in.  Now, some people call those patches "bad."  They refer to it by saying "don't stand in bad."  Other people just call it by it's most common name, "shit."  As in, "don't stand in the shit on the ground."  It makes sense, after all, who wants to step or stand in shit?  It's crude I know, but funny.  So, instead of calling it "bad" or "shit," I call it "schmutz," meaning "dirt" or "filth."

I've used the phrase, "Don't stand in the schmutz" for about two years now and boy, has it stuck!  It has the "sh" sound at the beginning, but it's not crass. I didn't realize I had coined a catch phrase until a few weeks ago when my new raid leader, Chris, popped up in vent in a very southern drawl and said, "Don't stand in the schmutz."  I started laughing hysterically.  When I started playing almost 4 years ago, no one would ever imagine to call the spots of fire or void zones on the ground "schmutz," but now they do.   KP uses it, every single guildie of mine, when they see stuff on the ground that can hurt them, all pop up and say, "Don't stand in the schmutz!"  I've coined a catch phrase.  LOL.

But my all time favorite catch phrase I use is "Hugs to you."  It's a phrase I picked up off of my Auntie June and I'm grateful to her every day for teaching it to me.  It was always so sweet when we used to goof around in Uru or or any online world I've been around June, she always says, "Hugs to you," which I think is one of the sweetest expressions, it simply says that you deserve a hug and if she was there to hug you, she would.  So, I snapped it up and began to use it.

Everyone in my guilds, old and new, and all of my friends have always seen at one time or another the warm, sweet phrase, "Hugs to you."  It's just a sweet thing to say to people you care about.  It's warm and welcoming, and as my friend Janet once told me, "Greet everyone you meet with a smile on your face and love in your heart."  "Hugs to you" does just that.  

Last night, I got a whisper from one of my old guildmates.  I'm not going to mention names, so don't ask.  I visited with him for a good little while, we caught up, I told him about what was going on with me, he told me what was going on with him and we had one of our old-style sit-downs that we used to do fairly frequently.  After all, everyone, at one time or another, always comes to see Mama Rel, and I guess he just figured it was time he came to have a visit with me.  I don't mind one bit.  He was a welcome sight.

You have to understand, this is not the type of person you would call "touchy-feely," to call him "overly warm" would be a stretch.  When I met him, I was greeted with apathy.  You could tell he was around to get things done then get out as soon as he could.  Not what I would call a socialite in the least, but after a while, I wear most people down into being sweet.  And, after a particularly grueling raid back in the days of Trial of the Crusader, when he didn't even acknowledge my existence as a person, he earned one of my famous nicknames and oh did it stick.  What's worse is that the nickname I came up with for him was not the least bit masculine...that completely macho guy had his nickname derived from the Cruise Director on "The Love Boat" because he was buzzing around telling everyone where to go and what to do.  But back then, everyone knew if you were anyone to me, you got a nickname.  For example, my favorite druid of all time I used to call "The Great One" because he was so amazing to me.  He was the healing druid equivalent of Gretzky, and he is a sweetheart of a man.  A warrior tank I used to play with a lot got the nickname of "The Sultan of Sword and Board" sort of like "The Sultan of Swat" that they used to call Babe Ruth.  Another pal got the nickname "Hotline" because he was able to handle any crisis you could throw his way.  It was fun for me to come up with such creative names for them.  What's even better is that they knew they wouldn't get one unless I truly thought the world of them, so that uber-masculine guy took that feminine nickname without even flinching, even answering to it when I'd call him by it in guild chat.  But if someone else other than me dared to call him "Julie" they wouldn't live to see the next sunrise. 

So last night, we sat and visited for a good two hours, and you know what, he was so warm and so sweet, I can't even begin to believe it's the same guy who wouldn't even acknowledge my presence without a sneer some two years ago.

When we finished up our conversation, I realized something.  When people value you for who you are and respect you as a person, you start hearing your words come from their mouths.  They like you enough to use your little catch phrases.  I somehow wonder if it's a sign of respect and maybe it's a sign that says you've made an impact on their life.

Funny thing was, I just fell into a pile of mush with a huge "awwww" and a hand covering my heart when that macho guy, who has the crassest, toughest exterior I've ever seen, wrapped up our conversation with the simple phrase...

Hugs to you.

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