Author Archive
general

Mr. Krabs Meme

Informant: Do you know the memes on Instagram, like, the accounts that are called like “the female life” or “funny posts” just like those accounts? They always have a lot of really funny ones. I honestly every day just find a funny meme that’s relevant to what I’m doing will pop up in my head, and I’ll just laugh, like for example… Oh there’s one from Spongebob, that’s a picture of Mr. Crabs in the center, and everything around him is a big blur, and I forget what the caption was because a lot of people have created their own little captions for it, but I always refer back to that meme when I’m feeling overwhelmed, and I feel like I’m Mr. Crabs in that situation.

 

My informant is a freshman at the University of Southern California. She is studying psychology. She is from Orange County, California. I spoke to her in her dorm one night.

 

This is an example of a newer type of folklore, or something that has to do with terminus post quem. This could not have existed before certain social media has allowed it to exist. It’s a way of sharing something funny but relatable and adding humor to it. It shows multiplicity and variation with the different captions used with it.

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Dance Superstitions

Collector: Do you have any superstitions?

Informant: Um, well, I’m not sure if any of these are in there, but like, dance is like very different, but I also take exams the same way because I take an absurd amount of midterms ‘cause I’m in science class, and that’s all you do. But, like, I always have a certain pencil that I stick in my hair, and it’s like one of those old school ones ‘cause, like, I only ever write with mechanical pencils, like, I have never written with that pencil. But, like, that’s the pencil. And, um, so I have to tie my hair up in a bun with that pencil through it, and then, um, I also have to wear one of my grandma’s rings because that one is like the spirit of my grandmother is with me in the exam. And also, like, when I write I’ll see it because it’s on my right hand, so when I’m writing I always see it. And then, um, just like other than that, like, I give myself like a pep talk for like about 10 minutes before every exam. Just because I have to. And then I get there like thirty minutes early, and I laugh at everyone that’s freaking out. Um, and then in the theater world, I always, I will, like I always have to be listening to music, like I can’t not have music on when I’m getting ready, and then um, yeah I always like bang my pointe shoes a certain way [doing it] before I go on stage too. It’s like I’m kind of warming up my feet, but more of like a nice noise that it makes. So, I always bang my pointe shoes a certain way. Then, um, I always, I always do like the Catholic cross before I go on stage. Um…

MR: Are you catholic?

AA: No, I’m not religious in the slightest, but that’s what, that’s how it is. It’s just how it is. There’s no going back from there, so… Because I’ve done that before every performance for years. Cause I think at one point I was playing a Catholic person, like that was kind of a part of my character, and it just like started from there. It’s been like a long time, but now it’s like been before every single show that I’ve done for forever, so… Cross, and that’s before, that’s before the main show and generally before a different number, if a number ends and a different number comes on then it will go again right before I step on stage. Um, and let’s see, in my high school there was this frog, and everybody in the entire cast had to kiss this frog. I don’t know what the frog was from, but everybody had to do it. It was kind of gross.

MR: Wait, is it a stuffed frog?

AA: No, it’s like a plastic frog. It’s really creepy looking, it’s got these like, it’s got like red lips on it and it’s really scary looking, and then like everyone has to do a chant before we begin, too. And this is also just from my high school, so it would be like a certain type of chant depending on what the show was, but everyone had to do a certain chant, so my dance team had our own specific chant that we would do… And then before all my professional shows when I was in the company, everyone would do a group prayer circle together, so it also like the superstitions changed depending on what company I was in, but I like have my own and then the company has their own, so they just kind of layer on top of each other, so…

 

Informant is a junior at the University of Southern California. She is studying Human Biology, and she is a dancer and has been for many years. She is from San Diego, California. I spoke to her while we were eating lunch at my sorority house one day. We were sitting together with some of my other informants. Much of what she told me was learned from her own experiences.

 

In response to another person’s superstitions about getting ready before a sporting event, Allie was able to speak a little on her superstitions as a dancer and a test taker. It seems that no matter what large event people become worried about, each person has some type of ritual they do that they think will assist them in doing the best job they can.

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Paris Point 0

Informant: There’s like, France. The x. The zero. Something zero.

Collector: Point zero?

SC: Point zero, yeah. In front of the…Notre Dame. And I have never stepped on it, but I have been to Paris multiple times.

MR: I’ve only been to Paris once, and I didn’t step on it.

 

Informant is a sophomore at the University of Southern California. She is studying Narrative Studies and plans to have a minor in Songwriting. She is from a suburb outside of Chicago, Illinois. I spoke to her while we were eating lunch at my sorority house one day. We were sitting together with some of my other informants. Much of what she told me was learned from her own experiences.

 

This is something I’ve heard about from multiple people and have read about in books. There seems to be a connection between some part of great cities and either returning to the city or having a wish come true. This is a kind of combination of superstitions and rituals and just might subconsciously influence people to return to the city. I can see a similar type of thing with the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy, where if you toss a coin and make a wish the wish will come true. These old cities seem to have a type of magic to them which attracts you to return or fulfill a wish.

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Johnny

Collector: Ghost stories?

Informant: I have so many fricking scary stories. Um, let’s see… There’s one, where, I don’t want to go into super detail because it’s really annoying when it’s told that way, and it involves singing.

MR: No, do that.

ML: I fucking hate you. Okay, fine, fine, fine. So, um, there’s a little boy and one day his mother gives him some money and says, “Go buy some liver from the market.” And he takes the money and says okay and goes off to the market. When he gets to the market, he realizes that he doesn’t really want liver. He wants this toy water gun from the store. So he uses the money to buy the toy water gun from the store, and then he realizes he can’t go home empty handed, so for reasons unknown to me, I mean, known but disgusting reasons, he decides to find this liver by digging up a human corpse and taking his liver. Any way, he gets home; he takes the liver and gives it to his mother, who for some reason doesn’t notice any difference between human liver and, you know, like, the liver of an animal, and they cook it and they eat it. And that night, they, uh, this little boy is in his bed, and he hears a voice that says, I think the kid’s like, Johnny, [singing] “Johnny, I’m outside your house.” And then he’s like okay this is weird, but I’m just like hallucinating because he’s trying to sleep. And he hears again, “Johnny I’m inside your house.” And again, “Johnny, I’m inside your room.” And then, “Johnny, I’m in your bed.” And then lastly all he hears is, “Johnny, I want my liver back.” That’s it. That was told to me by my sister because she’s a jerk.

 

Informant is a freshman at the University of Southern California. She is studying animation in the film school here. She is from New Orleans, Louisiana. I spoke to her while we were eating breakfast in EVK one morning. We were sitting together with her two other friends, Ashley and Madeleine. Much of what she told me was learned from her sister or her own experiences.

 

It’s very interesting to see how many ghost stories people know and can recall from their childhood. Some might originate from books and some people made up to scare their younger siblings. This is interesting because it involves singing the voice as if you were the ghost, and involves quite a bit of suspension of disbelief. We can see that ghost stories often just boil everything down to this character did something just because we needed a reason for the story to continue. Often characters make dumb decisions we all know we wouldn’t make for the sake of the story continuing.

Holidays

Christmas Traditions

Collector: Do you have any holiday traditions?

Informant: Um… let me think first. Okay, I guess for Christmas, uh, my entire family gets together the night before on Christmas Eve, and we have a dinner party, and then we just stay up until midnight, when the, when it becomes Christmas Day. And then we all just go around the room and hug each other and say Merry Christmas. So then, everyone goes home to their own homes, and the next morning, my parents, my brother, and I have breakfast in our pajamas and then we open Christmas presents, while watching A Christmas Story.

 

My informant is a freshman at the University of Southern California. She is studying psychology. She is from Orange County, California.

 

This is an interesting family tradition because I think it’s very common to do this with families. My family does this type of thing as well where we gather for Christmas Eve and then the smaller family gets together Christmas Day to open presents.

Holidays

Family Traditions

Collector: Were there any traditions you had for holidays?

Informant: We always used to have fondue on, oh, we always used to have fondue on Christmas Eve, and then, um, and then my mom would always light something on fire. That was part of it, um, but, that stopped. It would be accidental, but she would, like, knock over the fondue thing, and something would like… Actually on Thanksgiving, though, we used to have a tradition that something would catch on fire. It goes pretty…It happens pretty much every year. My grandma does that. She lit a cornucopia on fire once.

 

My informant is a freshman at the University of Southern California. She is from San Diego, California. We had this conversation in the study room of my sorority house.

 

This is really an interesting tradition, and I think this happens with a lot of families is that a tradition is accidentally created, and it just continues to happen for some reason. For me, every year, my aunt will make some type of joke, and my mother will get mad and everything from then on during the dinner. This seems like an unintentional family tradition that everyone looks back on and remembers but becomes a problem each holiday.

general

Pre-Game Ritual

Informant: I am scared of everything, so anyone else’s superstitions genuinely become mine because I am afraid.

Collector: Can you give me some examples?

MG: Um… When I was a rower, I, like, had to eat a very specific meal before every race, like, I wore, like, the same underwear every time under my uni, like, wore the same socks… I had a full orange, an orange sports bra, an orange set of underwear, and these orange socks that I wore, and one time, I could not find the other orange sock, and I had to go to Costco and buy another giant pack of socks because there was only one orange one in the set, but there were, like, it was a big set of socks.

 

Informant is a junior at the University of Southern California. She is studying communications here. She is from Boston, Massachusetts. She spent a while in the southern part of Spain, and speaks fluent Spanish. I spoke to her while we were eating lunch at my sorority house one day. We were sitting together with some of my other informants. Much of what she told me was learned from her own experiences.

 

We were in the middle of talking about folklore and ghost stories, and the conversation turned toward superstitions because Maya said she was very afraid of everything. She has a very particular way of doing things just because and often picks up habits from other people. This type of superstition is seen, I think, in a lot of different people. It manifests itself slightly differently every time, but for the most part many people who are athletes or performers have this type of superstition where they have a ritual or specific thing they need during every meet or performance.

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Macbeth

Collector: I know my professor, like, theater ghosts…

Informant: Kind of, but I, like, there’s a lot of, like, a lot of other things besides that, too.

MR: I know my professor just told me a story about a theater ghost.

AA: Yeah, we didn’t have, like, theater ghosts. Of course, like, there is the play you never name, but, like, other than that…like…

MR: Talk to me about Macbeth

AA: I mean, I just know that, like, in the theater you don’t say the name.

Person:  Why would you say that?

AA: It’s just, it’s just, you don’t.

Person: Superstitious, yeah, why would you say that word? I’ve never said it.

MR: You’ve never said it?

Person: I studied it in my sophomore year English class, and I never said it.

MR: Wait, aren’t you not supposed to say it when you’re in the theater?

AA: Yeah I thought it was more in the theater—

Person: Especially when you’re not in the theater—

Person: Specifically, yeah…

Person: I don’t say it at all. I’m very—I’m also genuinely—I’m like, easily scared.

 

Informant is a junior at the University of Southern California. She is studying Human Biology, and she is a dancer and has been for many years. She is from San Diego, California. I spoke to her while we were eating lunch at my sorority house one day. We were sitting together with some of my other informants, Maya Getter, Diana Huang, and Sarah Campbell. Much of what she told me was learned from her own experiences.

 

This is also interesting because we spoke about this in class as well. It seems that some people have different superstitions about when and when you cannot say the name. I think the conclusion I have come to is that absolutely nobody says it while they’re inside the theater, but some people take the superstition further and don’t say the name outside, either. This is an interesting divergence between personalities and how others influence your beliefs.

Folk speech

Names

Collector: Oh! Do the story about why that guy got mad at you, or got mad at someone…

Informant: So, I don’t know if you’ve heard this story Maddie, um when I was in Spain, uh, so the word, like the colloquial term for blowjob is a person’s name in every city in Spain, and so, um, like in my friend’s town Toledo, Maria, and then in Granada it’s Victoria, um, so that’s just the context. So, I’m out with my friends—I was friends with this Spanish guy named Mario—and in Spain you go on dates, it’s like middle school style dating, so group dates. And so, um, Mario would ask me out and said invite some of your friends, so me and my two American friends were meeting up with his two friends, but then last minute his really good friend from where he’s from, Cordova, came to visit down in Granada, and so we were like—he was like “one more person” and I was like “oh my other friends are busy,” and he was like, “it’s fine, like [whatever his name is] will just come hang out”—I think his name was David. And so, we’re all at this bar hanging out, and then, um, we were doing like a pub crawl, and so we were supposed to head down to the next place, and so, um, his other friend, Luis, was like “oh guys we’re going to this next bar in 5 minutes, like finish your drinks,” and so like all the Spanish people are lightly sipping, and the Americans start to, like, you know, really try and down their drinks, and my friends, Claire and Diana, had like straws in their drinks and so they were trying to, kind of like, furiously sip.

Person: You have another friend named Diana?

Informant: Mhm

Person: Rude. Rude!

Informant: She looks nothing like you, so it’s okay.

Person: Sorry, continue.

Informant: She’s Italian and from upstate New York. Um, and so, we—but I had a beer, and so I needed to like, chug it, so I just, you know, like, I’m an adult and a frat star, I chug my beer. And I look, everyone’s kind of staring at me, because in Europe you don’t have to, like, chug your drinks because you’re an adult, um and you can drink it slow and be a normal person. Um, and so I’m like, whatever, I did it, it’s done, don’t make fun of me. And, um, I look up, and David is like smirking, and he says, “Aye que buenas Mayas,” and in Granada, at least in Spain, mallas, I’ve always been taught that means leggings, so it’s M-A-L-L-A-S, leggings, like, you know, like, the pants, so, um, I was like “what?” because I was wearing jeans, so I was like, maybe he thinks these are like, jeggings, okay whatever. And, like, I look over at Mario, and Mario looks furious. And I’m like, okay. And he said something really fast to David in Cordovan slang, and—Cordovian—and like, I don’t know what it means, and I, but I can tell he’s really pissed, but I’m like, I don’t know why you’re angry, okay. And so we start walking to the next bar, and I’m like holding hands with Mario, and I’m like, “Why were you so upset?” And he was like, “Oh, I don’t want to talk about it.” And I’m like, “No, I don’t understand, I didn’t really get the joke, so like what did that mean?” Because like Mario speaks English and Spanish, and so in Spanish I’m asking this, but like, “Can you explain it in English because I don’t get it.” And he was like, in English, “No we’re not going to talk about it.” And I was, he never speaks to me in English unless I ask him to, so I was like, “No, just, just, tell me.” And he like, will not say it, and I’m like, I’m the worst, when I want to know something, I will, I will force you to tell me, and so eventually he’s like, “He was saying, you know like how here Victoria means, like, blowjob?” I was like, “yeah.” He was like, “Well, in like, our town, outside of Cordova, like, Mayas are like blowjobs.” And I was like, “Wait what?” And he was like “Cause, you know, you chugged your drink, so you have to like open your throat, just kind of pour it…” And I was like, “Oh, Bueno, Bueno, [what sounds like "tamos"] a qui…” I switched right back to Spanish, because I was like I don’t want to talk about this hmmmm. So, that’s the end of that story.

 

Informant is a junior at the University of Southern California. She is studying communications here. She is from Boston, Massachusetts. She spent a while in the southern part of Spain, and speaks fluent Spanish. I spoke to her while we were eating lunch at my sorority house one day. We were sitting together with some of my other informants. Much of what she told me was learned from her own experiences.

 

I had recalled her telling this story, and thought that it was interesting and a new part of a culture I wasn’t very familiar with. As we were sitting at lunch discussing folklore, I remembered that she had told me this before, and asked her to tell it again. I haven’t heard of any other culture that does this to so much of an extent. It seems that every place, or so it’s suggested, uses some woman’s name for blowjob. It’s also interesting to see the difference in cultures having to do with the consumption of alcohol. It seems that a stereotype perpetuated by the party culture of many large and small universities is so different than the way the majority of the world consumes alcohol.

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Haunted Hotel

Informant: There’s this hotel in Boulder, Colorado, it’s like a thing, it’s actually, there’s a thing in Boulder Colorado where this room, it’s 314, I think it’s 314, um, has like, some weird ghostly connection to things. So, um, I was on this thing called the Banjo Billy’s Bus tour, it’s a thing, um, and, he was talking about how in room 314 of the music hall in Boulder, there was like some sort of suicide or something and then in the boulder hotel, not sure what the actual name is but it’s like a very known hotel for ghost stories, and um, in room 314 there was a woman or some sort of suicide and then a woman tried to kill herself with chloroform and then a man tried to kill himself—a bunch of people tried to kill themselves in that room. And when you go to that room, like when we went to that room after the tour, we were standing there and then you could feel like a rush of like chills, and then my mom and I were waiting for the elevator because it was on the third floor and I don’t know why we didn’t just go down the stairs and everyone had already gone down the elevator and we heard footsteps and nobody was there so we ran down the stairs. Fun story!

 

Informant is a sophomore at the University of Southern California. She is studying Narrative Studies and plans to have a minor in Songwriting. She is from a suburb outside of Chicago, Illinois. I spoke to her while we were eating lunch at my sorority house one day. We were sitting together with some of my other informants. Much of what she told me was learned from her own experiences.

 

This is an interesting ghost story, and you can see the connection between the numbers in this story and others. Many haunted rooms are on a floor with the number 13 in them, and this has that flipped around, but these numbers are often found having to do with haunted places. It seems that many hotels have stories about people dying in them.

[geolocation]