Recently, Llew and I have had several conversations with friends about coining a phrase. Where does it all begin? Idiom has to start somewhere, and those little funny phrases we trade from culture to culture all began somewhere and with someone. But even if we THINK we’re the first, it always seems too improbable to make a claim. There’s no way, I think we all think, that it could have originated with one of us. Surely we just absorbed it from the media in exchange for what little is left of the human brain.
Llew, for instance, is convinced that he and his mates are responsible for the expression “You snooze, you lose.” He even has a story to go along with it, and he swears he’d never heard the expression before he found himself uttering it that day sometime in the early to mid-90s, when Bucko awoke from a little mid-afternoon couch kip to find all the pot had been smoked. “You snooze, you lose” is a perfect rejoinder to his indignation, so part of me thinks, gosh, Llewie, maybe it DID all start with you… How will we ever know? Is it possible to test these things empirically? Has anyone else ever put up a hand to claim this phrase as their own?
We’ve been discussing this with a view to putting something out into the universe and seeing if it comes back to us, kind of like an echo from the zeitgeist. Evo wanted to put a piece of business speak out there, something really stupid and meaningless, because people are always dropping various idiotic guff into their corporate talk, and it would be so very sweet to catch someone using something that had only been made up to prove the very point that’s proved by someone actually using it. I so badly want him to do it. Maybe I should start brainstorming certain key performance indicators going forward.
Another friend’s admittedly rather elaborate effort involves a sort of homage to old westerns, swinging saloon doors etc. He suggests that whenever you’re in a bit of a spot because you’ve done something you really shouldn’t have done, you should pretend your hands are loaded guns, point them skyward, wave them around a little for effect, make a few ‘pet-chew, pet-chew’ noises like you’re firing a weapon, and then say in your best Texan drawl: “But the horse made me do it, Sheriff.”
I don’t know about you, but I think that could really take off.
And then there’s the one I think I’ve made up all on my very own. It’s in my manuscript, so I’m giving you a sneak preview of just the kind of lofty ideas that visit me whilst I’m sitting here typing away in a frenzy. Oh yes, it’s all reminiscent of Socrates and Plato around here… as you’ll see. It came to me the draft before this last one, so right now I’m the only person aside from my Lynk manuscript assessor who’s read it, although I did share it with three people including Llew last Friday night, hence my decision to write about it here because I don’t trust those filthy mongrels to keep it to themselves. I’m jealous of my expression. It’s not every day I feel like I’ve got any imagination left whatsoever, so I’m holding on like grim death to my belief that this is mine, all mine (insert demonic cackle). So… towards the end of the story, my protagonist is seeing a guy. It’s pretty casual at first, drunken rolls in the hay, and as I was writing about her turning up pissed outside his window, it occurred to me that the now-ubiquitous “bootie call” was not quite right. When I think of a bootie call, I think it’s a girl who is the object of it. In this case, my heroine is a woman who is taking matters into her own hands. She’s going after the object, she’s not the object herself, and yes it does make a nice change from all those rap videos where girls are objectified to within an inch of their butt cheeks. So “bootie call” would not do. And in that weird way that happens sometimes, I found the words appearing on the screen as my fingers typed on the keyboard even as I was barely aware of having any control at all: ‘it was not a bootie call so much as a cock knock.’
Cock knock: when a girl taps a guy for sex. Knock on the window, knock on the door, knock on his nob for all I care, but girls do do this at a certain point in their lives, usually after too many champagnes, and now we have a name for it. Cock knock. You heard it here first.