Tuesday, June 14, 2005

My Name Is Slim D and I Beat Dead Horses

I've joked on occasion that I have Tourettes, but it is only half a joke (and probably not very funny if you actually do have Tourettes). I do, in fact, have a bit of a compulsive streak that induces me to occasionally blurt out little, personal catch phrases at the prompting of various triggers. It's only distantly related to true Tourettes (perhaps a third cousin twice removed). I don't do it in socially inappropriate scenarios. I don't have to do it if I choose not to. Basically, I only do it around Sarah. But it is real. If the circumstances are right, and I'm not thinking about it, out they come. As Sarah will attest, it can be kind of annoying.

Let me illustrate with an example:

One of the local hip-hop stations used to have a nightly segment called The Nine O'Clock Props with Wild Wayne in which local aspiring rappers would call in to show off their skills. Wild Wayne always started:
"It' the Nine O'Clock Props with your man, Wild Wayne.
You're on the radio. Tell me what's your name. "
The caller would then respond with their rap, always making sure to shout out their neighborhood, often followed by a lot of bragging about gun-slinging and blunt-smoking. I was obsessed with it for a while and made up my own entirely bogus response (although I certainly never called it in):
"My name is Slim D calling from Marrero.
Step in my 'hood and you better beware. Oh,
Watch out! I concoct the glock!
Mess with me and you're gonna get shocked-shocked-shocked-shocked [fake echo fadeout]"
My little rap amused me, if no one else, and I repeated it frequently (again, mainly to Sarah). After sufficient repetition it escalated to "tic" status, and, now, many years later, every time I hear mention of Marrero I reflexively start into it. These days, though, I rarely actually get to say it because, at the mention of Marrero, Sarah has learned to reflexively (and her reflexes are quite good) say, "Stop!", and I do, in fact, stop. See. I can learn. Sort of.

Of course, this is just one example. There are oodles of others, most of which I'm not even aware of, but I can recall a few:

"I see.""'I see', said the blind man, but he didn't see at all."unknown

"Martin""Mart-ANZZ" The TV show, Martin

"the Ritz""Puttin' on the RITZZZZ!" Young Frankenstein

"Calliope""cal-EEE-OPE! Magnolia! Magnolia!" A song by bounce rapper DJ Jubilee

"microphone""Microphone check, 1, 2, what is it? The Phife's gettin' down with the roughneck bizness. Float like gravity. Never had a cavity..." A song by A Tribe Called Quest

"Puerto Rico" or "Haiti""I like 'em brown and yellow, Puerto Rican and Haitian. My name is Phife Dog from the Zulu nation." Another song by A Tribe Called Quest*

"Cockney""'Ello. 'Ow are 'ou?" Christopher Guest's bogus Cockney accent from Waiting for Guffman

"hookah""C'est l'ennui ! - l'œil chargé d'un pleur involontaire, / Il rêve d'échafauds en fumant son houka. / Tu le connais, lecteur, ce monstre délicat, / Hypocrite lecteur, - mon semblable, - mon frère !" Baudelaire's "Au Lecteur", Les Fleurs du Mal
So I like to repeat these dumb little phrases, but my interest in beating dead horses doesn't stop there. I will hum little snippets of songs ad nauseum. I often derive pleasure from jokes long after everyone else is groaning and rolling their eyes. Sometimes you may catch me doing some dead-horse-beating right here on this very blog. But if you do, please, please, don't laugh. Don't mock. Don't ridicule. Just look the other way and pretend you don't know me. It's the kind thing to do.

And give your condolences to Sarah.

* Obviously, rap is a fertile source of tics for me. The number of rap-based tics is disproportionately large compared to the amount of time I actually spend listening to it.


  1. My friend, you are not alone. As a fellow "tribe" listener from back in the day, I can say that I have the exact same reaction to the words "microphone" and "Puerto Rico".

    BTW: I also suffer from repeating lines from "Seinfeld" for just about any occasion. I've found that there are groups out there for this.

  2. The little tropes are okay, and humming and whistling are fine if you're on pitch, but Spontaneous Amateur Rapping can be bad for your health.

  3. Anonymous7:42 AM

    I have a similar response when I hear "I see"-- but mine goes "I see said the blind man as he picked up his hammer and saw." That one comes from Adam, from way back in elementary school-- though I'm sure he got it from a movie or a tv show.

  4. Might it be the blind man from the old "One fine day in the middle of the night" poem? http://www.folklore.bc.ca/Onefineday.htm